The lens inside the eye is normally transparent. Its function it to help focus light onto the retina, the back lining of the eye. The term "cataract" refers to a loss of the lens's transparency.
Cataracts occur in many forms and are due to a variety of causes. Most commonly, cataracts are associated with aging. They may also be caused by trauma, radiation, ultraviolet light, medications and systemic diseases such as diabetes...and some cataracts are congenital. Not all cataracts are progressive...but those that are, cause a gradual, painless loss of vision. In the early stages of cataracts, eyeglass prescription changes can often help preserve vision. However, cataracts surgery is recommended when the decrease in vision starts to interfere with the patient's normal activities.
Cataract removal, one of the most frequently- performed surgeries in the United States, has very good results and low complication rates. Find out more about the different types of cataract treatment that are now available from the Carolina Glaucoma and Vision Center.