A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens that can occur with aging, certain medical conditions and trauma. Cataracts may cause blurred vision, dulled vision, sensitivity to light and glare, and/or ghost images. If the cataract changes vision to the extent that it interferes with your daily life, the cataract may need to be removed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.
Cataracts cannot be treated with medication or corrected with glasses. When the cataract impair vision to a degree where it negatively affects daily life, the only effective treatment is to surgically remove the cloudy lens (cataract extraction) and replace it with an implant, a so-called intraocular lens (IOL) Cataract surgery is regarded as safe and reliable. In fact, it is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the world. During the operation, the natural clouded lens is permanently replaced with a very small artificial lens (IOL). This procedure is well-established and constantly evolving with new technology: for example, new types of intraocular lenses, and more precise devices for diagnosis and imaging.
Early-stage cataracts are most often detected by a slit-lamp examination at the ophthalmologist’s office, before any symptoms are detected by the patient. The question of how quickly cataracts progress cannot be answered in general terms. In some cases, it takes many years before the disease leads to blindness if left untreated, while in others it progresses rapidly within a few weeks. In the advanced stage, the following symptoms usually appear in varying degrees, indicating cataracts: