The top lens is clear, the bottom cloudy due to a cataract (source: AAO EyeSmart)

What are cataracts?

If your vision has become cloudy or things you see are not as bright as they used to be, a cataract may have developed in one or both of your eyes. A cataract is a clouding of your eye’s naturally clear lens. Your eye becomes like a window that is frosted or tinted.

The amount and pattern of cloudiness within the lens may vary. If the cloudiness is not near the center of the lens, you may not be aware that a cataract is present.

There are common misconceptions about cataracts. Many people believe a cataract is a film that grows over the surface of the eye that is scraped off or removed at the time of surgery, or that it is a result of overusing the eye, and that the loss of vision is irreversible. As you can see from the earlier description these misconceptions are not correct.

Your ophthalmologist (eye MD) can determine if your decreased vision is caused by a cataract and help you decide if surgery is the best treatment.

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