Authored by Revere Health

Cataracts and Cataract Surgery

January 19, 2017 | Ophthalmology

The healthy human eye is a remarkable, complex organ that works like a camera to process everything from colors to shapes and distances.

Just like a camera, a damaged lens in the eye can produce out-of-focus or blurred images. One common condition of the eye is called a cataract—when a lens in the eye becomes cloudy and makes it difficult to process light correctly. Cataracts are slow to develop and may never become severe enough to bother you, but in some cases they have a big impact your vision.

Here are some of the symptoms, causes and potential treatments for cataracts.

Cataract Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Significant changes in contact lens or eyeglass prescriptions
  • Fading color perception
  • Double vision, usually in just one eye
  • Halo vision around lights
  • Trouble seeing at night

Symptoms generally start out mild or may even be unnoticeable. In some cases, your symptoms may stay this way for a long time. In other situations, however, they may progressively get worse over time.


Cataract Causes and Risk Factors

The primary cause of cataracts is damage to the lens tissue, usually brought on by aging or a specific injury to the eye. They can also be caused by previous surgeries, medical conditions or the use of steroid medications. Cataracts cause the lenses in the eye to clump together and create a clouding sensation.

There are also several health factors that can increase risk for cataracts:

  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol
  • Exposure to extreme sunlight


Types of Cataracts

There are four different types of cataracts:

  1. Nuclear cataracts: These are cataracts which affect the center of the lens. They may cause nearsightedness or even a brief boost in reading vision early on, but as time passes, the lens can fade to yellow and cloud your vision. Nuclear cataracts often lead to trouble with identifying different color shades.
  2. Posterior subcapsular cataracts: These are cataracts in the back of the lens that damages reading vision and bright light vision. Posterior subcapsular cataracts are usually quick to progress.
  3. Cortical cataracts: These are cataracts around the edges of the lens, which generally cause streaks in peripheral vision early on before progressing toward the center of the eye.
  4. Congenital cataracts: These are cataracts that are present from birth or develop early in life. Often related to other medical conditions.


Cataract Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing a cataract is done by a doctor using both your medical history and a physical examination. Some tests include::

  • Retinal exam: Doctor puts drops in your eyes to dilate (expand) your pupils and check the backs of your eyes.
  • Visual acuity test: A common test where one eye is covered and you’re asked to read a series of letters.
  • Slit-lamp exam: A microscope, called a slit lamp, is used to shine a line of light and illuminate tiny parts of your eye for the doctor to see.


Revere Health Ophthalmology offers patients the best in eye care, from glasses and contacts to treatment of eye-related diseases and conditions.



“Cataracts.” The Mayo Clinic.

“What Are Cataracts?” WebMD.


The Live Better Team

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

Learn more about Telehealth

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.