Cataracts are a common cause for poor vision. The prevalence of cataracts increases with age; more than 50 percent of people over age 55 have these lens opacities and over 70 percent of those over age 75 have this condition.
A cataract is a lens opacity, seen as a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. The amount of clouding may vary; if the clouding is not near the center of the lens, you may be unaware that a cataract is forming. Other people who have a cataract may not see well enough to do the things they need or want to do.
Cataracts start out small and have little effect on vision at first. But as the cataract grows, so does the impact on vision. There are a number of symptoms that may lead you to suspect a cataract is developing such as:
- Painless blurring of vision
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Double vision in one eye
- Poor night vision
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions
Although cataracts usually develop as part of the aging process (more then half of all Americans develop cataracts by ago 80), they can also result from:
- Eye injuries
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes
- Genetic inheritance
- Certain medications
- Frequent, unprotected exposure to UV-A and UV-B rays
The lens implant procedure
Removing cataracts and replacing the natural lens of the eye is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures. Each year, over 15 million cataract and lens implant procedures are performed worldwide. This proven procedure allows the IOL (intra-ocular lens) to be implanted in a brief outpatient procedure.