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A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside your eye, something that all adults will experience to some extent. It happens when the proteins and fibers that make up the lens (which is normally clear) become restructured in such a way that opacity begins to develop, sort of like fog on a glass.
A variety of possible risk factors for cataracts include:
Cataracts typically do not have any early signs or symptoms in the disease process. Once it gets progressive enough to start obstructing light as it enters the eye, people with a cataract may notice:
A cataract diagnosis can be made by an ophthalmologist during a comprehensive eye exam. At our clinic, we use specialized eye drops to dilate your pupils, so we can see inside your eyes more clearly. Since we can detect cataracts before symptoms develop, it’s important to be regularly screened for them, especially as you get older. (Estimates show that as many as 90% of people over the age of 65 have a cataract in at least one eye.) Treatment often depends on the severity of symptoms. In the early stages, low vision techniques and modifications (including updated prescription eyewear) may be necessary. Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and dietary improvements, may slow the progression of the cataract. When the problem gets severe enough, the damaged lens can be replaced by an artificial lens during a simple in-office procedure.