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What is Cataract: Causes, Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Team AckoApr 19, 2024

Cataracts are a very common condition affecting millions of people across the globe. The problem mostly affects the older population and can be corrected with a simple surgery. This blog covers everything from what is cataract to its common symptoms and causes. Keep reading to learn more!




What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of your eye, which affects your vision. It happens when proteins in the lens clump together and block or change the passage of light. There are several cataracts, but the most common type is age-related cataracts, which occur when the eye's lens becomes increasingly opaque with age. Cataracts usually develop slowly and painlessly and can eventually cause blindness if left untreated.

Causes of Cataract

Cataracts are a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Though they typically develop later in life, anyone can get cataracts at any age. Many different factors can contribute to the development of cataracts. Here are five of the most common reasons why people develop this condition:

  1. Ageing: As we age, the protein in our eyes starts to break down and clump together. This causes our eyes' lenses to become clouded, making it difficult to see clearly.

  2. UV Exposure: Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can damage the proteins in our eyes and lead to cataracts. This is why wearing sunglasses or hats with a brim is important outdoors.

  3. Diabetes: Diabetes is a condition that causes high levels of sugar in the blood. This can further damage the eye's lens, causing cataracts.

  4. Smoking: This is a well-known risk factor for many health conditions, including cataracts. The substances in cigarettes can damage the proteins in the eyes, leading to the development of cataracts.

  5. Family History: If someone in your family has cataracts, you may also be more likely to develop them. This is due to genetics and other factors that are not yet fully understood.

If you are concerned about developing cataracts, talk to your doctor. There are many ways to help prevent or slow down the progression of this condition.


Symptoms of cataracts may include:

  • Blurry vision

  • Fading or yellowing of colours

  • Glare, or a light appearing unusually bright

  • Halo formation around light

  • Poor night vision

  • Double vision in a single eye

If you have a cataract, it doesn't hurt. But left untreated, cataracts can eventually cause blindness. Cataract surgery is the most common type of outpatient surgery. It is also one of the safest and most effective surgeries.

How is a Cataract Diagnosed?

Cataracts are usually diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. During this exam, your doctor will likely:

  • Conduct a visual acuity test to measure your ability to see clearly at different distances

  • Check your pupils for signs of cloudiness

  • Examine the inside of your eye with a bright light

  • Check for signs of cataracts with a special magnifying lens

If your doctor suspects you have cataracts, they may recommend further testing, such as an ultrasound, to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for cataracts typically involves surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one. Surgery is safe and effective, and it can help improve your vision.

Treatment Options for Cataract 

There are several different treatment options for cataracts, and the best one for you depends on your condition's severity. If your cataract is mild, you may be able to treat it with special eyeglasses, contact lenses, or magnifying lenses.

However, if your cataracts are more severe, you may need surgery to remove them. The most common type of surgery is called phacoemulsification, during which the clouded lens is broken up and removed using ultrasonic waves. A new artificial lens is then inserted to replace the removed one. Cataract surgery is generally safe and effective, and most people who have it experience an improvement in their vision. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment option if you have cataracts.

How to Prepare for Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure, but there are a few things to remember before surgery. First, be sure to consult with an eye doctor to determine if cataract surgery is right for you. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so getting an accurate diagnosis is important.

Once you've decided to proceed with surgery, there are a few things you can do to prepare. First, schedule the surgery for a time when you can have someone stay with you for a few days afterwards. The surgery is usually quick and easy, but you will be groggy and need help with things like cooking and cleaning.

Next, ensure that all your medications are ready and easily accessible. You will be given specific instructions on when to take them before and after surgery, but it's helpful to have them all in one place, so you don't have to search for them later.

Lastly, try to relax and stay positive. Cataract surgery is a very effective treatment, and you will likely see a big improvement in your vision afterwards. They will also test your visual acuity to see how well you can see.

Cataract Surgery Post-operative Care

After cataract surgery, taking care of the affected eye is important. Here are some tips on postoperative care:

  1. Keep your eye clean and dry. You may need artificial tears and ointment to keep your eye lubricated.

  2. Avoid rubbing or touching your eye.

  3. Wear protective eye shields or glasses as advised by your doctor.

  4. Follow your doctor's instructions on diet and activity.

  5. Your vision may be blurred for a few days or weeks after surgery. Do not drive or operate machinery until your vision has returned to normal.

6 Tips to Prevent Cataract

A cataract is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world, and the condition is usually corrected with surgery. However, you can take a few steps to prevent them from developing or worsening.

  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet, and limit your intake of processed foods.

  • Get regular eye exams: Seeing your eye doctor regularly is essential for maintaining eye health and catching problems early. Be sure to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years.

  • Wear Sunglasses: Sunglasses help protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.

  • Quit Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for developing cataracts. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your eyesight.

  • Limit Your Alcohol Intake: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also increase your risk of developing cataracts.

  • Take Care of Your Overall Health: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for overall health and can help reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes. As conditions like diabetes are also a major cause of cataracts, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and manage any chronic health conditions you may have.


Cataracts are a common condition that affects millions of individuals. Most people develop cataracts as they age, a major cause of blindness worldwide. These occur when the eye's lens becomes clouded, making it difficult to see. Cataracts can develop slowly and may not cause any symptoms at first. If you are concerned about developing a cataract, talk to your doctor. There are several treatment options available once cataracts have formed, and there are also ways to prevent them from occurring in the first place. 


Is cataract curable?


Yes, cataract is curable with surgery. The surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial one.

What are the first three signs of cataracts?


The first three signs of cataracts include blurry vision, colours that appear faded, and the appearance of glare and halos around lights.

What is the main cause of cataracts?


The main cause of cataracts is age. However, health conditions such as diabetes and exposure to UV rays may also cause cataracts.

View Infographic: What is Cataract


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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