Cataracts occur in the eye’s lens and do not affect other eye structures. Typically they are age-related, beginning to form after age 40 and perhaps not until the 70s or 80s. They are a change in the lens structure and by blocking some of the incoming light, they cause blurriness and other problems. Please see Cataract Symptoms.
The lens consists of water and protein fibers and lens clarity is maintained by the way the fibers are arranged. But as we age, the protein structure becomes altered. It is not known exactly why this happens. Opacities form as proteins start to clump together, and some of the light entering the eye does not reach the retina. That means that vision is a little foggy or dim – some image data is missing when the brain interprets what we are looking at.
The three lens layers are sometimes compared to a fruit like a peach. The lens and a peach both have a thin skin on the outside, a soft main layer beneath that, and a hard center.
Not all cataracts are age-related. Some babies are born with congenital cataracts and this may be because the mother had German measles while she was pregnant, or it may be related to a metabolic disorder. Congenital cataracts need to be treated quickly so vision will develop more normally (the brain will learn to accept and interpret data from the eyes). Please see Early Vision Development
Other cataract causes are:
Cataracts cannot be removed from the lens. They are treated by removing the lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens in a procedure called Lens Replacement Surgery. You can read more about cataracts at Cataracts Overview and Cataract Diagnosis.
To find a cataract surgeon in your locale, please visit our Eye Surgeon Directory.