Worried about your vision? Wondering if you have cataracts and what that means?

We asked the Food and Drug Administration for information and advice.

We know: All About Cataracts

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are areas on the eye that distort light as it passes through the eye's lens, which is responsible for producing images. The lens is located behind the iris and the pupil.

What causes cataracts?

The most common type of cataracts are related to age which protein in the lens of the eye clump together and cloud our vision.

What are some common symptoms of cataracts?

Cataracts symptoms include blurriness, reduced night vision, glare problems, frequent changes in glasses prescription, impaired depth perception and color distortion. Cataracts generally occur in both eyes.

Who is at highest risk for cataracts?

Cataracts occur most often in folks over 60, because they often result from the aging of the eye lens. But anyone can get cataracts and they can occur as the result of an eye injury. Diabetes and smoking and taking corticosteriods may also contribute to a higher risk for cataracts.

The medical community recommends that people over 60 have a complete eye exam at least every two years, and that wearing sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection when you are in bright light outside are good ideas.

What are the current treatments available for cataracts?

A stronger eyeglass prescription may be enough to help some people with cataracts.

Surgery is also available to remove the closed lens and replace it with an artificial lens. This kind of surgery has a 98% success rate with some, but few complication risks. It is generally an outpatient procedure.

New technologies have contributed to improvements in artificial lenses, including lenses that are more flexible. Multifocal lenses have also been developed that can provide both distance and near vision in many cases.

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