What are cataracts?
A cataract is when your eye's natural lens becomes cloudy. Proteins in your lens break down and cause things to look blurry, hazy or less colorful. If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy, like the bottom lens in the illustration. It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy, or less colorful with a cataract.
Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
In its early stages, vision loss caused by a cataract may be helped by using different eyeglasses, a magnifying glass, or stronger lighting. When these are no longer helpful, surgery is the only effective treatment. A cataract only needs to be removed when vision loss gets in the way of your daily activities. These include driving, reading, or watching TV. You and your eye care provider can make that decision together.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the U.S. It is also one of the safest and most effective. It is done by replacing the cloudy lens with a new lens.
Patient Care Faculty Members
Associate Dean: Medical Technology Innovation (UW Medicine/College of Engineering); Professor of Ophthalmology: Graham and Brenda Siddall Endowed Chair; Adjunct Professor: Bioengineering & Global Health; Division Director, Cornea and External Disease