What Is a Cataract?


Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among people older than 55. In the United States, cataracts affect an estimated 24 million people – that’s about one in six Americans over 40. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over half of all Americans will develop cataracts by age 75.


Focusing on the Lens

The eye is like a camera, and it uses a lens to focus. This lens is made mostly of water and protein arranged in a precise pattern to keep the lens clear and let light pass through. But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This cloudy or blurry spot is called a cataract.

At first, the cloudiness may affect only a small part of the lens, and you may be unaware that you are developing vision loss. Over time, the cataract may grow, clouding more of your lens and distorting the light passing through the lens. You might begin to notice difficulty seeing during your daily activities, such as watching television or driving at night. If not treated, cataracts may impair or cause complete loss of vision. If not treated, cataracts may impair or cause complete loss of vision.

Cataract removal is one of the most frequently performed operations in the United States. It is usually an outpatient procedure and is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery.

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