Cataract

  • Alternative Names

    Lens opacity; Age-related cataract


    Treatment

    The following may help people who have an early cataract:

    • Better eyeglasses
    • Better lighting
    • Magnifying lenses
    • Sunglasses

    As vision gets worse, you may need to make changes around the home to avoid falls and injuries.

    The only treatment for a cataract is surgery to remove it. Surgery is done if you cannot perform normal activities, such as driving, reading, or looking at computer or video screens, even with glasses.

    If a cataract is not bothersome, surgery is usually not necessary. Cataracts usually do not harm your eye, so you can have surgery when it is convenient for you.

    However, some people may have additional eye problems, such as diabetic retinopathy, that cannot be treated without first having cataract surgery.

    For information on surgery, see: Cataract surgery


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    Vision may not improve to 20/20 after cataract surgery if other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, are present. Ophthalmologists can usually, but not always, determine this in advance.


    Complications

    Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing permanent vision problems.

    Although rare, a cataract that progresses to an advanced stage can begin to leak into other parts of the eye. This may cause a painful form of glaucoma and inflammation inside the eye (called a hypermature cataract).


    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have:

    • Decreased night vision
    • Problems with glare
    • Vision loss