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A 34-year-old member asked:

hi doctors, was just wondering what is a cataract and when are they required to be operated on?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology 52 years experience
Lens opacity: A cataract is a change in the light transmission due to loss of transparency of the lens structure. This is mostly an age related issue but there are other causes for cataract in an earlier age. Removal is recommended when the cataract advances to the point of functional disturbance to vision.
Dr. Michael Ham
Ophthalmology 27 years experience
Clouding of the lens: Cataract is when the natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. Treatment is indicated if it is affecting your ability to see and perform normal activities of daily living. The clouding usually starts in the late 50's and surgery is usually indicated in the late 60's - 70 years of age.
Dr. Constance Okeke
Ophthalmology 21 years experience
Cloudy lens: A cataract is a cloudy lens that is a normal phenomenon that occurs with aging. When we are born our natural lens is clear but becomes hazy and cloudy over time. When it becomes cloudy enough to inhibit our regular activities, we consider it visually significant and offer a cataract surgery to remove it and replace with an intraocular lens.

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Similar questions

A 21-year-old member asked:

How do I avoid getting cataracts?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Foster Carr
General Practice 33 years experience
Wear sunglasses.: Ultraviolet light from the sun can cause damage to the lens inside of the eye. Wearing sunglasses with uv protection can reduce your risk of developing cataracts later in life.
Dr. Johnnie Strickland Jr
Family Medicine 33 years experience
also keep your blood sugar under control as cataracts are very common in diabetics and chronic use of Nasal steroids for allergies can cause problems as well; so you may want to look for alternate treatments.
Dec 3, 2011
A 22-year-old member asked:

If I suspect I have cataracts when should I call the doctor?

4 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Chang
Specializes in Ophthalmology
Eye exam: Typically cataracts are not an emergency. You should have them checked out when you think your vision has diminished.
A 21-year-old member asked:

How can cataracts be treated?

4 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sarab Alfata
Family Medicine 20 years experience
Surgery: The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a plastic lens implant. The replacement lens sits in the same place as your natural lens and becomes part of your eye.
A 21-year-old member asked:

What are the main causes and risk factors of cataract?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barbara A Majeroni
Specializes in Family Medicine
Aging: Most cataracts develop slowly as a result of aging. They may occur more rapidly in people with a history of an eye injury, uveitis or diabetes. Some are associated with genetic diseases. Cataracts can also occur as a side effect of radiation therapy or steroid drugs.
A 34-year-old member asked:

At what age do you get cataracts usually?

2 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Benjamin Rubin
Ophthalmology 39 years experience
Varies : If you have certain diseases, or take Prednisone it can be even in 30s or earlier. Most patients are 60 or older, but many patients i see from africa are younger. There is also a condition, hypo Alpha protein where the patient is 40-50, and is very subtle and difficult to diagnose, but the patient is symptomatic. I have seen 15 such patients who were initially told there was nothing wron.

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Last updated May 3, 2015

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