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A cataract is a condition where there is a clouding over of the lens of the eye. The lens of your eye is what allows the entry of light onto the retina at the back of the eye and then creating an image that is sent to your brain. The lens will also allow focusing of the light which in turns allows you to see clearly. When this lens clouds over it cuts down on the light the retina receives and in turn makes it more difficult for you to see clearly.

To understand what a cataract is you need to understand what the lens is. The lens of the eye is made up mostly of water and protein. As we grow older this protein can tend to clump together which then will cloud over small areas of the lens. Over time this clumping of the protein will grow and cause a cataract.

When a cataract first starts to form it will start out small and have little affect on your vision. You may notice some blurring from time to time. You could also notice the headlights of a car coming at you at night are causing a glare.

It is not known for sure what causes a cataract to form as we grow older. Some studies point to exposure to ultraviolet light as a cause to the development of cataracts. The use of sunglasses could help the exposure to this type of light.

There are also studies that point to people with diabetes that are more likely to develop a cataract.

Other factors that could put you at risk of a cataract are: heavy alcohol consumption, cigarette smoke and air pollution.

If you suspect you have a cataract you need to see your eye doctor to get the proper treatment.

When you first see the symptoms of a cataract you could improve your vision for a while with the use of glasses, strong bifocals, proper lighting and the use of magnifiers.

Eventually you will have to think of surgery to correct your vision. The use of surgery to restore your vision is a simple an painless way to see again.

In the United States there are over 1.5 million cataract surgeries done each year. Nine out of 10 people that have cataract surgery recover their vision to the point of having between 20/20 and 20/40 vision.

Contract surgery is normally done on an outpatient basis. The surgery consists of the doctor removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a new plastic intraocular lens. When the operation is over, the surgeon will usually place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. Plan to have someone else drive you home.