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What is a cataract?
Vision care column
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A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The lens is just behind the colored part of the eye, the iris. Normally the lens is clear and allows light to enter. But when a cataract forms, light is not able to pass through the eye easily.
Most often cataracts are related to aging. But aging is not the only cause since some people are born with them. Cataracts can also be caused by long-term exposure to sunlight, smoking, injury and long-term use of steroid medications. Certain systemic diseases such as diabetes can also lead to cataract development.
Early stages of cataracts usually cause little or no visual problems. The rate of progression varies with each eye. As cataracts develop symptoms may include cloudy or blurry vision, trouble seeing at night, seeing glare or halos around lights and distortion of colors.
In early cataracts, vision can usually be improved by changing the eyeglass prescription or using stronger lighting. If daily activities become difficult, the cataract may need to be surgically removed.
Fortunately, cataract removal is one of the most commonly performed and effective surgical procedures today. An estimated 90 to 95 percent of patients who undergo cataract removal experience improved vision afterward. During cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is replaced with a clear, artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens.
Cataracts can be detected with a comprehensive eye examination. Since early cataract diagnosis and monitoring can protect your vision, scheduling a visit with your eye care physician is advisable.

You can get more information from Rowe or Pittman at 368-2020.
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