Cataract

A cataract is a gradual opacity or clouding of the normally clear crystalline lens of the eye, caused by the natural aging process, metabolic changes, injury, various forms of radiation, toxic chemicals and certain drugs. Symptoms may include the following: blurring of vision; sensitivity to light; double vision in one eye; frequent changes in eyeglass prescription; difficulty in reading in low light; declining night vision; and/or fading or yellowing of colors. Treatment of cataracts today is an outpatient, surgical procedure that takes only a short time.. In most cases, daily activities, such as driving and reading, can be resumed almost immediately, usually within a day or two.

Cataracts are an opacity or clouding of the normally crystalline lens of the eye, caused by the natural aging process, metabolic changes, injury, various forms of radiation, toxic chemicals and certain drugs. The leading cause of vision loss among adults age 60 or older, cataracts impair vision, making everyday activities increasingly difficult.

In simple terms, a cataract is usually part of the normal aging process that changes the natural, clear lens of the eye into a cloudy, opaque structure that inhibits or diminishes the passage of light to the retina. The condition can be compared to a window that is frosted or "fogged" with steam.

Symptoms:

  • Patients with cataracts often experience the following symptoms:

  • Blurring of vision.

  • Glare, or sensitivity to light.

  • Double vision in one eye.

  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription.

  • Difficulty in reading in low light.

  • Declining night vision.

  • Fading or yellowing of colors.

Detection:

Adults over the age of 40 should schedule routine eye examinations on an annual basis to determine whether cataracts or other eye disorders are present. A thorough examination by an ophthalmologist or qualified eye care professional usually includes:

  • A visual acuity test to measure clarity at various distances.

  • Pupil dilation to examine the lens and retina for other eye problems.

  • Tonometry, a standard procedure to measure fluid pressure inside the eye.