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The lens of the eye is made mostly of water and protein. As the eye ages, some of the protein may clump together. This process can start to cloud small areas of the lens, blocking light from reaching the retina and interfering with vision.Cataracts can dull your vision This is a cataract. Most cataracts are related to aging, and are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery; and it’s the most commonly performed surgical procedure for those over 65. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes; it cannot spread from one eye to the other.

Most cataracts develop slowly, and can take months or years to reach a point where it adversely affects vision. Typical signs of cataracts include

  • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
  • Increasing difficult with vision at night
  • Sensitivity to bright sunlight and/or oncoming lights at night
  • Halos around lights
  • The need for brighter light for reading or other activities
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision or ghost images in one eye

Actual size of a lens implant

The risk of cataracts increases as a person gets older. Other risk factors include certain diseases such as diabetes, personal behavior such as smoking and alcohol use, and environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. Since there is presently no medical treatment for cataracts, the best option is cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90% of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward. Surgery involves making a small incision and inserting a tiny probe that emits ultrasound waves that soften and break up the lens so that it can be removed by suction. An artificial lens called an intra ocular lens (IOL) is then inserted into the place where the natural lens was to restore the vision. The IOL requires no care and becomes a permanent part of the eye. This entire process usually lasts less than 20 minutes and is almost painless. The use of eye drops will aid the healing process over the next few weeks, and most people are be able to get new glasses about a month after surgery.