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What is a Cataract?

GettyImages 117452343 56fde8bb3df78c7d9e17e394

GettyImages 117452343 56fde8bb3df78c7d9e17e394

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye.  If you think of the eye as a camera, the lens is the piece that focuses the picture.  There are many different types of cataracts, ranging from congenital cataracts to “Christmas tree” cataracts to total white cataracts.  The most common types are nuclear cataracts, cortical cataracts and posterior sub-capsular cataracts.  The surgery for all cataracts is almost the same with some modifications for certain types.


What causes a cataract?

The main causes of the most common cataracts include aging, UV exposure, poor nutrition, radiation exposure, long term steroid use and diabetes.  Trauma to the eyes can also cause cataracts.

How do you treat cataracts?

There is no medical therapy for cataracts at this time.  If the cataract or clouding of the lens is significant enough to decrease your vision on the eye chart and interfere with your activities of daily living, hobbies or work, then you can consider cataract surgery and discuss it with your eye physician and surgeon.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the USA and the most successful.  Any surgery in the body has the risks of bleeding and infection, and fortunately these are low risks in cataract surgery.  Additionally there are low risks of pain, needing a second surgery, glaucoma, corneal problems, macular edema, retinal detachment, loss of vision or loss of the eye.  Review your particular risks with your eye physician and surgeon and let’s get you back to enjoying what you love to do.



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