Cataracts Health News

A cataract is clouding of the eye’s lens, the part that helps the eye focus light. The result is a general blurriness in vision that can worsen over time.

Among eye disorders, cataracts are one of the most common, particularly in the elderly. By the age of 80, people have a greater than 50 percent chance of either having a cataract or having had surgery to correct a cataract.

Causes and Symptoms of Cataracts

In the vast majority of cases, the greatest risk factor for cataracts is simply getting older. The eye’s lens is a fairly simple structure made up of water and proteins, and over time those proteins begin to clump together, leading to the blurry vision of cataracts. Other age-related lifestyle factors, such as smoking or diabetes, may raise your risk for cataracts even more.

A few non-age-related factors can cause cataracts, as well. For example, traumatic cataracts occur after an eye injury, and congenital cataracts are present at birth. You can also develop secondary cataracts that occur after surgery on the eyes. Cataracts can also develop as a result of radiation exposure.

In addition to the general blurriness of vision, cataracts also can pose problems seeing at night, cause an increased sensitivity to light glare and make colors appear less intense.

Treatment of Cataracts

If you do not yet have a cataract, some steps might help prevent one. Wearing sunglasses and hats to protect the eyes, abstaining from smoking and heavy drinking, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables may all play a role in preventing cataracts. Once you have cataracts, better glasses and sunglasses and brighter light may help, but the only way to "cure" the cataract is with surgery. This procedure involves removing the cloudy lens from the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens.

SOURCES: U.S. National Eye Institute; American Optometric Association

Date Posted
Article Title
How Your Car Side Window May Be Harming Your Skin, Eyes

Many don't offer enough protection from the sun's damaging UV rays, study finds

What Women Should Do to Guard Against Vision Loss

They're more likely than men to lose sight from cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases, experts say

Healthy Amount of Vitamin C Might Keep Cataracts at Bay

Key is to get the nutrient from foods rather than a supplement, researchers say

Scientists Use Stem Cells to Correct Infant Cataracts

Leaving these cells behind during removal of damaged tissue led to regeneration of new, clear lens

Success in Dogs Points to First Nonsurgical Cataract Treatment

Eye drops may offer new approach for research, expert says

Low-Income Southerners at Highest Risk for Vision Loss

Restricted access to eye and health care likely to blame, study authors suggest

Americans Get Too Many Tests Before Cataract Surgery, Study Finds

Costs for unnecessary blood work, urine tests and EKGs add up

Daily Statin Might Raise Your Risk for Cataracts: Study

But benefits of cholesterol-lowering drugs outweigh risks, experts say

Vitamin E, Selenium Supplements Don't Seem to Prevent Cataracts

Nutrients also have little effect on rates of cataract removal, study involving men over 50 finds

Could Time Spent Outdoors Raise Cataract, Glaucoma Risk?

Sunlight reflected up into the eyes may boost odds for a condition that could harm vision, study finds

Cataract Surgery a Plus for Someone With Dementia, Study Says

Besides better vision, patients and caregivers report improved quality of life

Blindness Rates Dropping Worldwide, Study Finds

But more could be done to improve vision loss, researchers say

Color Vision Tends to Fade With Age: Study

But seniors' lives aren't really affected, and certain treatments can reverse condition, experts say

Sealant Gel Approved for Eye Surgery

An additional option after cataract operation

Quitting Smoking May Cut Cataract Risk

Chances of the vision problem declined over 20-year period for those who quit, study found

More Americans Getting Cataract Surgery

Study finds baby boomers having the procedure at earlier age

Selecting Sunglasses for Healthy Eyes

Tips for protecting your vision and skin

Statins Linked to Raised Risk of Cataracts in Study

But heart benefits of these drugs are significant, expert says

Cataract Surgery Tied to Lower Death Risk for Patients With Vision Loss

Reasons for association aren't clear, study author says

Rare Eye Disease Leaves People Without an Iris

Aniridia, a genetic disorder, can cause blindness as well as metabolic illnesses, experts say

'Micro-Stents' May Hold Potential to Treat Glaucoma

Devices appear to reduce pressure in the eye, studies find

Cataract Patients Relax to a Soothing Beat, Study Says

Audio therapy may reduce anxiety during this common procedure

Statin Use Tied to Possible Boost in Cataract Risk

But link isn't proven and patients shouldn't stop taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, researchers say

Cataract Surgery May Cut Risk of Hip Fracture

Study found seniors who had procedure were less likely to have fall-related breaks

Older Americans See Better Today, Study Finds

Improved cataract surgery techniques, less smoking may be reasons why

Glaucoma Stent Approved

Along with cataract surgery, helps reduce pressure inside eye

Chemical in Smoke May Pose Health Risk

Isocyanic acid released from cooking fires, cigarettes, wildfires, researchers find

With Cataracts, Misinformation Seems to Abound

Myths about when and how to treat vision problem often delay treatment, experts say

Have Cataracts? Get Surgery, Woman Urges

Return of good eyesight after 30 years is called 'a gift'

Study Finds Vitamins E and C Don't Reduce Cataract Risk in Men

Long-term use had no effect on age-related eye disorder, researchers say

As People Live Longer, More Will Develop Cataracts

If healthy lifestyle doesn't prevent the condition, surgery is 95 percent successful, eye doctors say

Diet, Meds and Smoking Linked to Eye Disease Risks

Good nutrition staved off cataracts; some drugs, smoking increased vision problems, studies found

Certain Popular Antidepressants Linked to Cataracts in Seniors

More study needed to confirm findings, researcher suggests

Eye Disease Rates High Among Latino Americans

As the population ages, more programs needed to address vision loss, experts say

Laser Deemed Best Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Standard therapy still recommended over steroid injections, researchers say

Cataract Surgery Doesn't Worsen Macular Degeneration: Study

Link likely due to fact that both eye conditions are age-related, researchers say

Gene Found for Age-Related Cataract

Could help advance understanding of this vision-robbing disease

Study Reiterates Eye Risks Linked to Flomax

Men should be aware of dangers if taking prostate drug, experts say

Cataract Surgery Doesn't Worsen AMD

Study says surgical advances may explain away the link seen in earlier research

Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring

CDC study projects that by 2050, up to 16 million people will have vision problems

It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients

Simple surgeries, superior replacement lenses give many remarkable vision

Cataracts World's Leading Cause of Vision Loss

Age a key factor, but group cites other risks during August disease awareness month