Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens. The lens works with the cornea to bend light as it passes through to the retina. It is normally clear. A cloudy lens makes it hard for light to pass through. Your vision may be cloudy, hazy, and blurred. You may develop a cataract in one or both eyes.
What increases my risk for cataracts?
- Age 65 years or older
- A medical condition such as diabetes, low blood calcium, or high blood pressure
- Your eyes being exposed to sunlight or x-rays
- Long-term steroid use
- Alcohol use, or smoking cigarettes
- Family history of cataracts
What are the signs and symptoms of cataracts?
- Increasing loss of vision sharpness
- Cloudy, foggy, fuzzy, or hazy blurring of vision
- A halo appears around lights
- Headlights and sun may seem very bright
- Double vision
- Colors appear faded
- Loss of vision
How are cataracts diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may notice a cloudy appearance when looking at your eyes. He or she may also do any of the following:
- A visual acuity test is used to check your vision, eye pressure, and eye movements.
- Ophthalmoscopy is used to see the back of your eyes. Eyedrops may be used to dilate your pupils.
- A slit-lamp test is used to look into your eye with a microscope with a strong light.
How are cataracts treated?
You may need a different prescription for your glasses in the early stages of cataracts. Cataract lens removal surgery is a very common surgery. Your lens will be removed and replaced with an artificial lens.
How can I protect my eyes?
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sunlight and prevent eye discomfort. Make sure the sunglasses have UV protection.
- Do not smoke. Cigarette smoking increases your risk for cataracts. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You suddenly lose your eyesight.
- You feel a sudden, sharp pain in your eye.
When should I call my doctor?
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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