- A cataract is a clouding of the natural intraocular
crystalline lens that focuses the light entering the eye onto the retina. This cloudiness can cause a decrease in vision and may lead to eventual blindness if left untreated. Cataracts often develop
slowly and painlessly, so vision and lifestyle can be affected without a person realizing it. Worldwide, cataracts are the number one cause of preventable blindness. There is no medical treatment to
prevent the development or progression of cataracts. Modern cataract surgery, which is the removal of the cloudy lens and implantation of a clear intraocular lens (IOL), is the only definitive
treatment for cataracts. Cataract surgery is the most effective and most common procedure performed in all of medicine with 3 million Americans choosing to have cataract surgery each year, and an
overall success rate of 97 percent or higher when performed in appropriate settings.
- Cataracts often develop slowly with a gradual decline
in vision that cannot be corrected with glasses. Common complaints include blurry vision, difficulty reading in dim light, poor vision at night, glare and halos around lights, and occasionally double
vision. Other signs of cataracts include frequent changes in the prescription of glasses and a new ability to read without reading glasses in patients over 55.