A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. It is
most commonly due to biological aging but there are a wide variety of other causes. Over time,
yellow-brown pigment is deposited within the lens and this, together with disruption of the
normal architecture of the lens fibers, leads to reduced transmission of light, which in turn leads
to visual problems.
Those with cataracts commonly experience difficulty in appreciating colors and changes in
contrast, driving, reading, recognizing faces, and coping with glare from bright lights
The treatment of cataracts is based on the level of visual impairment they cause.
If a cataract affects vision only minimally, or not at all, no treatment may be needed. Patients
may be advised to monitor for increased visual symptoms and follow a regular check-up
In some cases, a change in eyeglass prescription may provide temporary improvement in visual
acuity. Increasing the amount of light used when reading may be beneficial. The use of anti-glare
coatings on clear lenses can help reduce glare for night driving.
When a cataract progresses to the point that it affects a person’s ability to do normal everyday
tasks, surgery may be needed. Cataract surgery involves removing the lens of the eye and
replacing it with an artificial lens. The artificial lens requires no care and can significantly
improve vision. New artificial lens options include those that simulate the natural focusing
ability of a young healthy lens.