A cataract refers to clouded lens in the eye which affect vision. The lens is the transparent area of the eye that helps to focus light on the retina. Cataract prevents light from reaching the retina. Hence, a person will see blurry images if the lens is cloudy. Cataracts are very common in elderly people.

The lens is made up of water and protein. As people age, clumps of protein group together and reduce the light reaching the retina. Initially, only a small part of the eye is affected. It may not even be noticeable. Gradually, vision worsens because cataracts take time to grow. The clear lens develops a brown tint which makes it difficult for a person to read and undertake routine activities. People who have advanced lens discoloration may not be able to identify blue and purple. 

A person can develop a cataract in their 40s and 50s. However, it may not affect vision. Problems with vision due to cataracts usually begin with people in their 60s. 

A cataract that develops in children, whether congenital (at birth) or acquired, can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye). Hence, immediate treatment is required to prevent loss of vision.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Poor night vision
  • Glare (extra sensitivity to light)
  • Frequent changes in prescriptions for glasses or lenses
  • Blurry or cloudy vision.
  • Multiple images in one eye 
  • Loss of ability to discern colors