A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye and most commonly affects people around the age of 40. As a cataract progresses, noticeable symptoms may include faded colors, blurry vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and trouble seeing at night.
Cataracts are most commonly due to aging but may also occur due to trauma or radiation exposure, be present from birth, or occur following eye surgery for other problems. Risk factors include diabetes, smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and alcohol.
Prevention includes wearing sunglasses and not smoking. Early on the symptoms may be improved with glasses. If this does not help, surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens is the only effective treatment. Surgery is only needed if the cataracts are causing problems and generally results in an improved quality of life.