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Do I Have Cataracts?

What Is a Cataract?

Though many people have heard of cataracts, not everyone knows exactly what they are. Contrary to popular belief, they are not a film growing over your eye. A cataract actually occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy, making it harder for light to enter your eye. This can cause obscured or blurred vision, similar to looking out a foggy window.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, you’re not alone — they're a natural part of the aging process, and they affect more than 20.5 million Americans over 40.1

What Are Cataract Symptoms?

Cataracts often develop slowly. In fact, most people learn they have cataracts after a routine eye exam. This is usually followed by a visit to an ophthalmologist — an eye doctor who’s trained to perform eye surgery.

Regular visits to your eye care specialist are important for catching cataracts before they cause problematic changes in your vision. You can also watch out for cataract symptoms like:

  • Cloudy, blurry or dim vision2
  • Increasing difficulty with night vision2
  • Sensitivity to light and glare2
  • Seeing rings or halos around lights2
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription2
  • Fading or yellowing of colors2
  • Double vision in a single eye2
Your eye care specialist may diagnose you with cataracts before you’ve noticed any cataract symptoms.

Are You a Candidate for Cataract Surgery?

Unfortunately, cataracts aren’t preventable, but with more than 3 million cataract surgeries taking place in the U.S. every year, it’s one of the most commonly performed surgeries. 3Your eye surgeon will help you weigh your options, including your advanced technology options.

Use our Surgeon Locator tool for help finding eye surgeons in your area and selecting the one who's right for you.

  1. Common Eye Disorders: Cataract. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 23, 2013. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/eye_disorders.htm
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Cataracts: Symptoms. Mayo Clinic. July 30, 2013. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cataracts/DS00050/DSECTION=symptoms. Accessed July 31, 2013.
  3. Majka C, Carlson A. Ophthalmic pearls: cataract: when to use multifocal intraocular lenses. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available at http://www.aao.org/publications/eyenet/200609/pearls.cfm. Accessed July 31, 2013.

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