A cataract is when your eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy due to the proteins in your lens breaking down and causing your vision to be blurry, hazy or less colorful.
Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear. If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy. It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.
Aging is the most common cause of cataracts due to normal eye changes that begin to happen after age 40. That is when normal proteins in the lens start to break down. People over age 60 usually start to have some clouding of their lenses. However, vision problems may not happen until years later.
Other reasons you may get cataracts include:
Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. Other cataracts can develop more quickly, such as those in younger people or those in people with diabetes. Doctors cannot predict how quickly a person’s cataract will develop.
While cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, they are easily corrected with surgery. During the surgery your eye lens is replaced with a new one and your vision is immediately restored. The best way to care for your eyes is to see your ophthalmologist every year so you can be diagnosed and decide together the best course of action.