Having a general understanding of the anatomy of your eyes is an important step in understanding cataracts. The clear, dome-shaped lens in the front of your eye is responsible for focusing light (in other words, images) onto your retina at the back of your eye. Your retina translates the image into signals to send to the brain.
A cataract is the clouding of this internal lens, which is common and usually age-related. As the lens clouds, less light is able to pass through and the image isn’t correctly focused.
The lens of your eye is comprised of protein and water, which is clear when it’s arranged as it should be. As you age, protein can clump, creating the cloudiness that is a cataract.
No one is immune to cataracts as they affect over half of the population over 80 years of age. However, certain people are at higher risk than others, including those:
No. Cataracts that aren’t impacting your vision generally don’t require treatment until they do.
For early cataracts, your doctor may prescribe eyeglasses or recommend:
As cataracts progress, these measures may not help improve your vision anymore. If these measures aren’t helping and your cataract is affecting your ability to drive, read, or watch television, cataract surgery is often recommended.
During cataract surgery, a small incision is made in the eye and the cloudy, natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens. This synthetic lens cannot develop cataracts in the future.
All surgeries come with risk and no outcome is guaranteed, but 90% of patients see better after their cataract surgery. The procedure is very common, safe, and effective.