A cataract is an opacity or clouding of the eye’s lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light needed for vision. The lens of the eye is located behind the pupil and the colored iris, and normally is transparent. Its role is to help focus images onto the retina at the back of the eye, which transmits the images to the brain. Vision can become blurred or dimmed because light cannot be transmitted properly through the lens to the retina.
As medical advances have succeeded in lengthening the human lifespan, more and more Americans are – and will be – entering the age group associated with the development of cataracts. It has been said that if we live long enough, most of us will develop a cataract.
The symptoms of a cataract include:
- Blurred vision, double vision, ghost images, and the impression of a “film” over the eyes.
- Problems with light, such as finding lights not bright enough for reading or near work, or being “dazzled” by intense light.
- The need for frequent changes of eyeglass prescriptions, which may not improve vision.
The treatment for a cataract is surgery, which offers a safe and successful means to restore vision in more than 95 out of 100 cases. Consult your doctor for directions and advice specific to your needs.
Reprinted with permission from PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA. Copyright 2002.