Cataract Awareness

Cataract Awareness


What is a cataract?

According to the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute, “a cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision.” Most cataracts are related to aging and are very common among older people. By the age of 80, more than half of all Americans have either had a cataract or had cataract surgery.

A cataract can occur in one or both eyes. But they cannot spread from one eye to the other.Eye diagram

What is the lens?
The lens is the clear part of the eye that helps to focus light or an image on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If a cataract has clouded the lens, the images you see will be blurred.

Cataract clear image
Normal vision without cataract

Cataract blurred image
The same scene as viewed by a person with cataract

What causes cataracts?
As we age, some of the protein that the lens is comprised of may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, which makes it harder to see.

The risk of getting a cataract increases as you get older. However, other risk factors for cataracts include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight

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How can I protect my vision?
Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet light
If you smoke, stop
Take the proper dietary supplements that support healthy eye structure and function
Eat plenty green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants