Cataract is an opacity of the lens of the eye. When we see something, the light rays travel to our eye through the pupil and focus on the retina (a layer of light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye), through the lens. The lens must be transparent in order to focus the light properly on the retina. The opacity or clouding of the lens is called a cataract.
Vision problems with cataracts
If your vision has become blurred, cloudy or weak, or the things you see are not as bright or colorful as they used to be, a cataract may have developed in one or both eyes. Many people describe vision with cataracts as something similar to seeing through the dirty windshield of a car.
As a cataract slowly begins to develop, you may not notice any change in your vision at first. But as the cataract progresses, you can begin to find that it interferes with your daily activities. Through a complete eye exam, your ophthalmologist (Eye Doctor) can tell you if cataracts or another problem are the cause of your vision loss.
While cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss, especially as we age, they can be treated with cataract surgery. Since most cases of cataracts are part of the normal aging process, they are not reversible. There are no medications or eye drops that make cataracts disappear. Surgery is the only treatment.
If your lifestyle has not changed significantly, there may be no need to remove the cataract. In some cases, a simple change of prescription of your glasses can help improve your vision. Contrary to popular belief, a cataract does not have to be "mature" to be removed. However, once cataracts are diagnosed, the ophthalmologist should regularly watch for changes in your vision.
Cataract surgery for clearer vision
When a cataract causes annoying vision problems that interfere with your daily activities, your ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to remove the cataract. Through this surgery, the opaque natural lens is removed and replaced by an artificial implant called an intraocular lens or IOL.
You and your ophthalmologist can talk about the cataract surgical procedure, preparation and postoperative recovery, the benefits and possible complications of surgery, as well as its costs and other important informative topics. By mutual agreement, you and your ophthalmologist can decide if cataract surgery is the right option for you.