5 Common Questions and Answers About Cataracts

June 15th, 2020

Article Contents

  1. What Is a Cataract?
  2. What Causes Cataracts?
  3. What are the Types of Cataracts?
  4. Can Cataracts Be Treated?
  5. What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
  6. What Do Cataracts Look Like?

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

We have noticed that many people have questions about Cataracts, but the answers seem to be all over the internet, and it can be hard to get the answer you seek. We decided we would do our best to bring you the answers to the most common questions asked about Cataracts. We will also try our best to answer them in a way that will empower you to confidently take action with your Eye Care Professional if you think you may have a Cataract.

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Currently, there are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts. The longer cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully remove the cataract and restore vision. If not treated, cataracts can lead to blindness.1,2

Here are some questions and answers that could help you understand vision, especially about Cataracts, a bit better, and enable you to take action with your Eye Care Professional.

Cataract Statistics: One-in-Six Americans Age 40 and Older Get Cataracts

Q1: What is a Cataract1?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens; this means that it blocks or changes the way light gets into the eye.

Think of your eye as an amazingly advanced camera. In order for your camera to take a great photo, it needs a lens that can focus on an image, but if that lens becomes dirty or cloudy, it can’t take a clear photograph, and the image though viewable becomes distorted. Your lens, the lens of the eye, works like this. It focuses the light on your retina (the back area of your eye), creating the image to send to your brain. However, if the lens becomes dirty or cloudy, the light does not reach the back of the eye appropriately, and the quality of your image, what you see, diminishes.

About one-in-six Americans, age 40 and older, will get a cataract. By age 80, more than half will have a cataract.1

Cartoon Eye Featuring the Risks of Cataracts

Q2: What causes Cataracts1?

Currently, the cause of Cataracts is unknown. Typically, around the age of 40, the proteins in the lens of your eye start to break down and clump together. This clump is known as a cataract.2

However, several risk factors are associated with Cataracts and include:

  • Age- as we age, we are at a greater risk of developing Cataracts
  • Long-term exposure to UV rays- being in the sun for long periods, especially without eye protection or exposure to intense heat
  • Health Problems- Diabetes is a contributor in cataracts
  • Eye Surgery- This also includes if you have had radiation treatment on your upper body
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Drinking- Drinking too much, too often
  • Certain medications- Medications such as corticosteroids, cholesterol reducers, or medicines used for arthritis, rashes, or hormone replacement therapy
  • Eye injury/inflammation
  • Extreme Nearsightedness
  • Family history

Though you cannot prevent all of these risk factors, there are some that you can take a proactive stance with. You can learn how to “Defend Your Eyes Against the Sun” and reduce the risk of UV rays at any age. You can also talk with your health care provider about medication side effects that could affect your vision, eating healthier food, and any vices you may want to take control of. Having options from other professional sources is a great way to make sure you are receiving the care you want and deserve.

Focus Laboratories also offers a wide range of eye care products that help aid in the reduction of common eye issues— such as inflammation, dry eye symptoms, and bacteria and virus overload on the eyelids and lashes. Take command of your eye health.

Close-Up Image of an Eye with Cataracts

Q3: What are the types of Cataracts?

Cataracts can form in one or both eyes and can be at different stages in each eye. It can appear suddenly or be small changes over time so that it is hardly noticeable. Only an Eye Care Professional can determine what type of Cataracts you have and at what stage they are at but here is a basic breakdown of the different types.

There are four types of Cataracts1:

  1. Age-related – 95% of cataracts are age-related, usually after age 40.
  2. Congenital – These are present at birth, usually caused by infection or inflammation during pregnancy; possibly inherited.
  3. Traumatic – Lens damage from a hard blow, cut, puncture, intense heat, or chemical burn may cause cataracts.
  4. Secondary – Some medicines, eye disease, eye infections, or diseases such as diabetes cause these cataracts.

We have a more in-depth breakdown of the types in our Blog, Cataract Types.

Learn About the Different Types of Cataracts

Doctor Examining Patient Eye for Cataract Treatment

Q4: Can Cataracts be Cured/Treated? Does it require Surgery2?

Cataracts can be treated, and it is relatively simple to treat. As we discussed in question one, Cataracts are the clouding of the lens of the eye preventing light to pass into the eye for optimal vision. The treatment does require surgery, where a surgeon removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens (intraocular lens). The surgery takes around 15-20 minutes, and you can resume normal life quite quickly afterward. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the United States, with over 3 million Americans receiving the surgery annually.

Q5: What are the symptoms of Cataracts1,3?

The symptoms of Cataracts include:

  • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
  • Ghost images or the sense of a “film” over your eyes
  • Lights seem too dim for reading
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Halo rings around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • A milky or yellowish spot in your vision
  • Double vision- one eye only

If you or someone you know notices any change to their vision, they should seek advice from an Eye Care Professional.

Focus Laboratories also offers a wide range of eye care products that help aid in the reduction of common eye issues— such as inflammation, dry eye symptoms, and bacteria and virus overload on the eyelids and lashes. Take command of your eye health.

Cartoon Image of a Cataract Eye

BONUS: What does it look like when you have a Cataract?

The National Institutes of Health- National Eye Institute has a great video to give you a visual walkthrough of what it is like to have a cataract.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGV3PD5sBgM

Now that you understand Cataracts a bit more, you can talk with your Eye Care Professional and see what the proper course of action is if you think you might have one. We also recommend that adults get an eye exam at least every two (2) years to help keep their eye health at its optimal performance. We offer a list of questions you should ask your Eye Care Professional every time to stay informed and on top of your eye health.

Learn What to Ask During an Eye Exam

If you’re looking for additional ways to increase your eye health, taking supplements might be a good habit to begin. Focus Laboratories offers Tozal. TOZAL is an eye supplement that incorporates taurine, omega-3, zinc picolinate, lutein/zeaxanthin, and antioxidants — which combines vitamins A, C, D3, and E.


  1. https://preventblindness.org/cataract/
  2. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/syc-20353790
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