A cataract is a painless, cloudy area in the lens of your eye. A cataract blocks light from reaching the retina (the nerve layer at the back of the eye) and may cause vision problems.
Cataracts are common in older adults and are linked to aging. Smoking and exposure to too much sunlight are other risk factors. Cataracts can also happen after an eye injury, as a result of eye disease, after you use certain medicines, or as a result of health problems such as diabetes.
Sometimes children are born with cataracts.
Surgery is used to remove cataracts that are causing a problem.
Current as of: September 9, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Carol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
Tell Us About Your Visit
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.