Understanding Cataracts

Understanding Cataracts


A cataract is a vision problem caused by a clouding of the eye’s lens. The most common type is related to aging. More than half of the American population age 60 and older has cataracts.

What is the lens?
The lens is the part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. In a normal eye, light passes through the lens and is focused on the retina. To produce a clear image, the lens must remain clear. The lens is a transparent structure made of an ordered array of lens fibers that contain proteins and water. With age, the protein can clump together and start to cloud small areas of the lens which then causes a loss of transparency, interfering with vision. This is called a cataract. In its early stages, a cataract may not cause a problem. However, over time the cataract may grow larger, making it harder to see. Because less light reaches the retina, your vision may become dull and blurry.

How do I know if I have a cataract?

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Nighttime glare from headlights
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty reading fine print
  • Faded colors