What Are Cataracts?

The lens in the eye focuses light. This lets the eye see images sharply. Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. With age, the lens slowly becomes cloudy. The cloudy lens is a cataract. A cataract scatters light and makes it hard for the eye to focus. Cataracts often form in both eyes. But one lens may cloud faster than the other.

Three-quarter view of eye showing lens sharply focusing light. Three-quarter view of eye showing cataract scattering light.

The aging of your lens

Your lens may cloud so slowly that you don`t notice any vision changes at first. But as the cataract gets worse, the eye has a harder time focusing. In early stages, glasses may help you see better. As the lens gets more cloudy, your healthcare provider may advise surgery to restore your vision.

A clear lens allows your eye to bring objects sharply into focus.

A mild cataract may slightly blur your vision.

A dense cataract can severely blur your vision.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Haupert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2020
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