A cataract, which can occur in one or both eyes, is a clouding of the lens that affects a person’s vision. The presence of a cataract in one eye will not have an effect on the other eye, as cataracts do not spread from eye to eye. Because they are related to aging, cataracts are commonly found in the eyes of older people.

The lens of an eye helps to focus light onto the retina, which is light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The lens is made up of primarily water and protein. Normally, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina, where it is changed into nerve signals which are sent to the brain. A cataract forms when the proteins are arranged incorrectly within the lens. When the lens is cloudy, due to a cataract, the resulting image is blurred.

While many cataracts develop naturally, as a result of the aging process, some develop for other reasons.

-A radiation cataract develops after exposure to certain kinds of radiation.
-A traumatic cataract develops after an injury to the eye.
-A congenital cataract can be present when a baby is born, or develop in early childhood.
-A secondary cataract develops for a number of health related reasons, including diabetes, steroid use and other eye related conditions.

There are several types of cataract treatments available. Anti-glare sunglasses, improved lighting and magnifying glasses are some of the less invasive methods that can help. Cataract surgery is another treatment, and although it is more invasive than the others, it is curative and has a high success rate with minimal side effects. Your doctor will review your cataracts and let you know which treatment is recommended for your condition.