New Cataract Surgery Options Can Restore Your Vision > News > Yale Medicine

First, it helps to understand what a cataract is and what causes it. 

We’ll start with the lens, a structure inside of your eye that focuses light onto the retina to provide a clear image. When the lens starts to get cloudy, it blocks the light from passing through. “That’s when we call it a cataract. When one is forming, the proteins in your lenses are starting to degrade. They change in consistency and you’re no longer able to maintain clarity,” says Dr. Wang. 

Blurry vision and needing to change your glasses or contacts prescription frequently are typically the earliest signs, she adds. Other symptoms can include seeing halos, as well as glare and sensitivity around lights, especially while driving at night. Or you might have trouble reading a menu in a restaurant that is dimly lit, adds Dr. Wang. 

Age is the most common cause for a cataract. “It can happen at different ages. Some patients will experience it in their 50s. But the most common age for cataract surgery would be for someone in their 70s,” she says.

“In addition to age, light and UV exposure can cause the lens to become cloudy,” Dr. Wang says. “Other risk factors for cataracts can be trauma, certain medications, including steroids, certain diseases such as diabetes, and also, in rare conditions, you can be born with a cataract.”