When you’re watching television or performing routine tasks around the house, do you notice your vision is cloudy? When you’re driving, do oncoming headlights have halos around them? Do colors seem faded? Do you experience double vision that can’t be corrected with glasses or contacts? If you have any of these symptoms, you may have cataracts.
Cataracts are a common vision problem, especially as we get older. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among people older than 55. In the United States, cataracts affect an estimated 20.5 million people – that’s about one in six Americans older than 40. By the time they’re 70, over one-half of all Americans will develop cataracts.
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. Many cataract patients wish they hadn’t waited so long to have the surgery.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract, you may have many questions. You’ll find everything you need to know about cataracts right here, and soon, you’ll be on your way to better vision!
What Is a Cataract?
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 to 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, though, the cataract may grow larger, clouding more of your lens and distorting the light passing through the lens. You might begin to notice that you’re having difficulty seeing during your daily activities. If not treated, cataracts may impair or cause complete loss of vision.