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.
Vision Problems with Cataracts
If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy, like the bottom lens in the illustration. It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.
Besides aging, other cataract risk factors include:
- having parents, brothers, sisters, or other family members who have cataracts
- having certain medical problems, such as diabetes
- having had an eye injury, eye surgery, or radiation treatments on your upper body
- having spent a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunglasses that protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays
- If you have any of these risk factors for cataract, you should schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist.
In the normal human eye, light rays travel into the eye through the pupil. They pass through the clear lens and focus onto the retina. In an eye with a cataract, light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing precisely on the retina.
Though there are other risk factors for cataracts, aging is the most common cause. This is due to normal eye changes that happen after around age 40. That is when normal proteins in the lens start to break down. This is what causes the lens to get cloudy. People over age 60 usually start to have some clouding of their lenses. However, vision problems may not happen until years later.
Learn more about our cataract treatment options here.
The information contained here was adapted from EyeSmart – The American Academy of Ophthalmology