Your eye has a clear lens through which light passes allowing you to see. When the lens loses its transparency, the cloudy tissue that develops is known as a cataract.
Cataracts cause progressive, painless loss of vision. The lens clouds naturally as we age, so people over the age of 65 usually see a gradual reduction of vision. No one is exactly sure what causes cataracts. In younger people they can result from an injury, certain medications, or illnesses such as diabetes. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may also play a role in the formation of cataracts. Studies have also shown that people who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of developing cataracts than non-smokers.
Although cataracts usually develop without apparent pain, these are indications that a cataract may be forming:
If visual impairment interferes with your ability to read, work, or do the things you enjoy, then you will want to consider cataract surgery. Surgery is the only proven means of effectively treating cataracts. Cataract surgery is a relatively painless and is one of the most frequently performed procedures. It has a very high success rate and more than 90 percent of cataract surgery patients regain useful vision.
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- D.R., Commercial Airline Pilot