A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye.
A normal lens is clear. It lets light pass to the back of the eye. A cataract blocks some of the light. As a cataract develops, it becomes harder for a person to see.
Cataract is a normal part of aging. About half of Americans ages 65 to 74 have cataract. About 70 percent of those age 75 and over have this condition.
Most people with cataract have a cataract in both eyes. However, one eye may be worse than the other because each cataract develops at a different rate.
Some people with cataract don’t even know it. Their cataract may be small, or the changes in their vision may not bother them very much. Other people who have cataract cannot see well enough to do the things they need or want to do.
What are the symptoms of a cataract?
This information can help you decide what to do if you have a cataract. Talk about it with your eye doctor so you can make the choices that are right for you.
Signs of cataract:
- Cloudy, fuzzy, foggy, or filmy vision.
- Changes in the way you see colors.
- Problems driving at night because headlights seem too bright.
- Problems with glare from lamps or the sun.
- Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription.
- Double vision.
- Better near vision for awhile only in farsighted people.
These symptoms also can be signs of other eye problems.
See your eye doctor to find out what you have and how it can be treated.
A regular eye exam is all that is needed to find a cataract. Your eye doctor will ask you to read a letter chart to see how sharp your sight is. You probably will get eye drops to enlarge your pupils (the round black centers of your eyes). This helps the doctor to see the inside of your eyes. The doctor will use a bright light to see whether your lenses are clear and to check for other problems in the back of your eyes.
Other eye tests may also be used occasionally to show how poorly you see with cataract or how well you might see after surgery:
- Glare test
- Contrast sensitivity test
- Potential vision test
- Specular photographic microscopy
Only a few people need these tests.
- How is a cataract treated?
- Deciding on cataract surgery
- Risks and benefits of surgery
- Can a cataract return?
- Side view of the eye
- Side view of the eye with artificial lens
- American Academy of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120-7424
Phone: (415) 561-8500??
- National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: (301) 496-5248
- Prevent Blindness America