Understanding Cataracts

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Cataracts are common.

Cataracts are common and happen as we age. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, caused by a buildup of the eye’s natural protein. The buildup of protein changes the way the eye focuses light, therefore changing the color and clarity of vision.1

Cataracts begin for most of us between ages 40 and 50 and symptoms become apparent between 60 and 70.2 Cataract treatment is a once in a lifetime opportunity to remove your cataract, correct vision problems, and see better.

Treatment options

What is a cataract?

Let’s first understand how the eye works. There are two focusing structures: the cornea and the crystalline lens. The cornea is the outer focusing structure and the crystalline lens is the inner focusing structure. Light rays pass first through the cornea and then through the crystalline lens. The cornea and crystalline lens focus incoming light by bending all the light rays to meet at a single point on the retina. The retina then transmits this information to the brain, allowing you to "see" images.

The crystalline lens not only helps to focus light that passes into your eyes, helping to produce clear, sharp images on your retina, but it also adjusts your eye’s focus so you can see close up and far away. This lens is made up of protein, and as we age, some of this protein will start to clump together and cause a cloudy spot on the lens of the eye. The resulting blurring, clouding, and discoloration are what is considered a cataract. Left untreated, cataracts cause vision to deteriorate over time.

Normal lens

Eye with cataract

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

  • Blurred, dim, hazy, or cloudy vision

  • Increased sensitivity to light and glare

  • Seeing "halos" around lights, such as lamps or headlights

  • Needing brighter light for indoor activities, like reading

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

What causes cataracts?

Here are some risk factors that can cause cataracts to develop more quickly or earlier in life:


glaucoma, diabetes, hypothyroidism, or an autoimmune disorder


regularly using tobacco, alcohol, and/or corticosteroids


to sunlight, UV rays or X-ray

Eye trauma:

eye-related injuries, or burns

Nutritional deficiency:

low levels of antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids)

Addressing other eye conditions.

Did you know that cataract treatment is an incredible opportunity to also address other eye conditions like astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness?

Find out more