Cataract Surgery


A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision, making it blurry, cloudy or dim. Many people say that their vision with cataracts is like looking through a dirty car windshield.

A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other. Most cataracts are related to aging and are very common in older people, affecting more than 50 percent seniors by the age 80. People can have an age-related cataracts in their 40s and 50s, usually small ones that do not affect vision. After age 60, most cataracts do impair vision.


Cataracts can be age related, congenital, secondary (occurring after eye surgery or as a result of a health condition such as diabetes) or traumatic (due to injury). Tobacco and alcohol use as well as prolonged exposure to sunlight are risk factors for cataracts.

Symptoms and Detection

You may not notice any changes in your vision at first. As a cataract develops your vision gets worse and more blurry. The clear eye lens slowly changes to a yellowish or brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision.

Following are the most common symptoms of a cataracts:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Faded colors
  • Glare
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses

Cataracts are detected through comprehensive eye exams that include:

  • Visual acuity test to measure how well you see at various distances
  • Dilated eye exam in which drops are used to dilate the pupils so that the eye care professional can examine your retina and optic nerve
  • Tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye


When a cataract causes bothersome vision problems that interfere with your daily activities or prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, it may be time for cataract surgery. Cataracts cannot be reversed with medication or eye drops. Surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens implant called an intraocular lens, or IOL, is the only treatment.

In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward. Full healing takes about eight weeks.