Family Eye Care Center

Alexander Movshovich, MD


Cataract Care

  •  What is a cataract?

     A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light/ image on the retina.


    The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. It works much like a camera lens. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes.

  • Who is at risk for cataracts?

    The risk of cataract increases as you get older. However, people can have an age-related cataract in their 40's and 50's.


    But during this age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts decrease vision


  •  Are there other types of cataracts?

    Although most cataracts are related to aging, there are other types:


         •  Secondary cataract could be the result of complications following eye

             surgery or certain health problems like diabetes or medications

             like steroids.


         •  Traumatic cataract develops after an eye injury, sometimes years later.


          •  Congenital cataract is the kind a person is born with. If it is severe

              a child may need a surgery at a very young age.


         •  Radiation cataract develops after exposure to some types of radiation.


  • How do cataracts form?

      The lens consists mostly of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. When the protein clumps up, it clouds the lens and reduces the light that reaches the retina. The clouding may become severe enough to cause blurred vision.


    Also,  clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision. At first, the amount of tinting may be small and may not cause a vision problem. Over time, increased tinting may make it more difficult to read and perform other routine activities. If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and purples. You may be wearing what you believe to be a pair of black socks, only to find out from friends that you are wearing purple socks.


  • What are the most common symptoms of a cataract?

    The most common symptoms of a cataract are:


      •  Cloudy or blurry vision.

      •  Colors seem faded.

      •  Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear

          too bright.

      •   A halo may appear around lights.

       •  Poor night vision.                                                            Normal Vision  

      •  Double vision or multiple images in one eye.

         (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)

      •  Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or

          contact lenses.


    These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye

    problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check

    with your eye care professional.

    The same scene as viewed

      by a person with cataract

  • How do I protect my vision?

     Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataract. If you smoke, stop. Researchers also believe good nutrition like green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract.

  •  How is a cataract detected?

     Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes visual acuity testing and pupil dilation.

  •   How is a cataract treated?

    Vision decrease from early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens/ implant.


    A cataract needs to be removed only when vision loss interferes with your everyday activities, such as driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care professional can make this decision together.


    Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your vision. For example, a cataract should be removed if it prevents examination or treatment of another eye problem, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

  • What happens during surgery?

     At the hospital or eye clinic, drops will be put into your eye to dilate the pupil. The area around your eye will be washed and cleansed.


    The operation usually lasts less than one hour and is almost painless. Many people choose to stay awake during surgery. Others may need to be put to sleep for a short time.  If you are awake, you will have an anesthetic to numb the nerves in and around your eye.


    After the operation, a patch may be placed over your eye. You will rest for a while. Your medical team will watch for any problems, such as bleeding. Most people who have cataract surgery can go home the same day. You will need someone to drive you home.

  • Credits

    This online resource guide provides information about cataracts. It answers questions about causes and symptoms, and discusses diagnosis and types of treatment. It was adapted from Don't Lose Sight of Cataract (NIH Publication No. 94-3463) and Cataract: What You Should Know (NIH Publication No. 03-201).


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Cliffside Park, NJ  07010

Telephone 201-943-0022


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