What is a cataract?

What is a cataract

A cataract is a painless gradual clouding of the lens of your eye.

The lens is a clear part of your eye that helps to focus light, or an image, onto the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye.

A cataract typically develops gradually, causing your eyesight to get progressively worse. Vision becomes blurred because the cataract acts as if you are looking through frosted or cracked glass which interferes with your sight – and at best is inconvenient and at worst can lead to blindness if left untreated. A cataract can affect your ability to drive, read and do everyday tasks easily.

Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes and are common in people aged over 65. People sometimes think that a cataract is a film growing over your eye, or that a cataract can spread from one eye to the other, but these are both misconceptions.

Symptoms of a cataract include:

  • Cloudy or fuzzy vision
  • Faded colours
  • Problems with bright lights, poor vision at night
  • Double or multiple images from one eye
  • Having to change glasses or contact lenses often due to frequent prescription changes.

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