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About Cataracts

The visual symptoms can vary. Blurriness, hazy vision, or increased glare from sunlight and headlights may be present...

Apr 21, 2015

Just as fingerprints on a camera lens cause blurred pictures regardless of our efforts to focus, a cloudy lens within the eye causes blurred vision. When the human lens becomes cloudy or hazy enough to interfere with vision, it is called a cataract.

Changing glasses (focus) will not help the blur that is caused by a cataract. Just as defective film will spoil photographs, a weak retina (as in a condition called macular degeneration) will cause blurred vision in eyes despite a clear lens and proper focus (glasses). Good vision always requires (1) optimal focus - usually with glasses, (2) a clear lens, and (3) a healthy retina.

But cataracts cause visual symptoms only; they do not cause pain, discomfort, tearing, or redness. The visual symptoms can vary. Blurriness, hazy vision, or increased glare from sunlight and headlights may be present. Some cataracts turn yellow, causing fading of color. Reading may take more effort, and you may tire prematurely. Vision progressively worsens over a period of years or sometimes after only a few months. Some cataracts are caused by birth defects, injuries, diabetes, or prolonged use of certain medications, such as steroids.

Highly nearsighted patients may develop cataracts at a young age. However, most cataracts result simply from the natural aging process of the human lens. Like gray hair, cataracts are not a disease, nor do they occur at the same age or rate in everyone.

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