A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. It affects your vision. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other. Common symptoms are
- Blurry vision
- Colors that seem faded
- Glare - headlights, lamps or sunlight may seem too bright. You may also see a halo around lights.
- Not being able to see well at night
- Double vision
- Frequent prescription changes in your eye wear
Cataracts usually develop slowly. New glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses can help at first. Surgery is also an option. It involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataracts.
NIH: National Eye Institute
- Choosing Wisely When It Comes to Eye Care: Preoperative Testing (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
- Dilating Eye Drops (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus) Available in Spanish
- Eye Exam (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Facts and Myths about Cataracts (Prevent Blindness America) - PDF
- IOL Implants: Lens Replacement and Cataract Surgery (Intraocular Lenses) (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin (American Optometric Association)
- Talking to Your Doctor (National Eye Institute) Available in Spanish
- Genetics Home Reference: Hyperferritinemia-cataract syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- Cataracts (National Eye Institute)
- NIH Study Provides Clarity on Supplements for Protection Against Blinding Eye Disease (National Eye Institute)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Comparison of Visual Quality after Implantation of Big Bag and...
- Article: Prospective Randomized Intraindividual Comparison of Posterior Capsule Opacification After Implantation...
- Article: Changes in Aqueous Humor pH After Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery.
- Cataract -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Academy of Ophthalmology
- Find Services for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (American Foundation for the Blind)
- Finding an Eye Care Professional (National Eye Institute) Available in Spanish
- National Eye Institute
- Cataracts (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)