What is Cataract?

Cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The disorder causes blurred vision or total loss of vision in people especially above 40 years of age. The disorder develops slowly due to protein build-up in the eye and may affect one or both eyes. Cataract may occur due to age factor or due to trauma to the eye (after an accident). It may also occur after birth or after an eye surgery, as a side-effect. The three types of cataracts are subcapsular cataract, nuclear cataract, and cortical cataract.

Subcapsular cataract affects the back of the lens. Nuclear cataract starts from the nucleus of the eye, i.e. the deep central zone of the lens. And, cortical cataract is categorized by white wedge-like patches (opaque) that start from the edge of the lens and extend towards the center of the eye.


The symptoms are not fixed for cataract and maybe related to other eye problems. Most common symptoms of cataract are:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision.
  • Faded eye color or reduced eye color.
  • Difficulty in night vision.
  • Double vision or multiple image formation in one eye.
  • Frequent eyeglass number change.
  • Any source of light may appear too bright.


Medically, the reason for cataract forming is not clear, but researchers have identified a few possible causes, which are:

  • Age: Lens degrades with age, and the process is accelerated due to diseases and infection.
  • Trauma or fatal accident which left the eye injured or affected.
  • Radiation: Exposure to UV radiations from sunlight, or X-rays etc. Radiations from microwave have also been found to affect eyes.
  • Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. which affect different body organs.
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications.
  • Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol.
  • An eye injury or inflammation.
  • Infection after a surgery.
  • Hormone replacement therapy.
  • High myopia.
  • Family history or genetic disorder.
  • Deficiency of Vitamin C.


The following are some risks associated with the disease:

  • Bleeding.
  • Inflammation.
  • Drooping eye.
  • Dislocation of the artificial lens.
  • Infection.
  • Loss of vision.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Retinal detachment.


There are no proven methods that prevent cataract. However, following are a few ways that can prove helpful in preventing cataract:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Use sunglasses.
  • Use steroid medicines, only when necessary.

How is it diagnosed?

Starting of cataract is visible and can be confirmed through a comprehensive eye test which includes:



How is it treated?

The following treatment methods can be used to treat cataract:



  • Lenses

    When the symptoms have just begun to develop; glasses, bifocals, lens, etc. are recommended to improve vision. 

  • Surgery

    When the condition worsens further affecting daily life, surgery is the only solution. During surgery, the surgeons removes clouded and dysfunctioning lens and replace it with a new plastic intraocular lens (IOL).

When do I contact the doctor?

If changes in vision are noticed, appointment with an eye care specialist is recommended. The specialist can confirm if there is any cataract development or other factors affecting the vision. 

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