Cataracts cause changes to the lens in your eye which makes your sight cloudy and misty. Cataracts are treated by surgery, during which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens.
Although most people have a good level of clear vision following their cataract surgery, the thought of an operation on your eye may be worrying.
We’ve put together a guide to the condition and what to expect during surgery.
Our Understanding Cataracts guide is accredited by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. It's designed to give you a detailed understanding of your eye condition and helpful advice on next steps.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. Your lens sits just behind your iris, the coloured part of your eye. Normally your lens is clear and helps to focus the light entering your eye. Developing cataracts will cause your sight to become cloudy and misty.
Cataracts can affect one or both eyes. Cataracts are treated by surgery, during which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens.
Developing cataracts is a normal part of growing older. Most people start to develop cataracts after the age of 65, but some people in their forties and fifties can also develop cataracts.
Certain things make it more likely that you will develop cataracts:
Cataracts can be removed by surgery. Cataract surgery removes your cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. This lens is known as an intra ocular lens – often shortened to IOL. The artificial lens is made of plastic or silicone, and will not need to be changed for the rest of your life.
There isn’t any medicine or drops that can remove cataracts – surgery is the only way to treat them.
Our Understanding Cataracts download guide (see the top of this page) goes into more detail on cataract surgery.
If you've got any questions, speak to us by calling our Helpline on 0303 123 9999.
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NHS Choices has information and advice on age-related cataracts and cataract surgery.