Just the Facts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision.  A cataract can occur in either one or both eyes.  It cannot spread from one eye to the other.  Researchers suspect that there are several causes, such as smoking, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light and diabetes.  Or it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.

During middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision.  It is generally after age 60 that most cataracts cause vision problems.

Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help delay cataract development.  If you smoke, stop.  Researchers also believe good nutrition, including fruit and leafy greens, can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract.

If you are age 60 or older, schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years.  In addition to cataract, your eye-care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and other vision disorders.

Source:  National Eye Institute