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Cataract: Introduction

A cataract is a common condition that affects the eyes and results in a gradual deterioration of vision. More than half of people who reach age 80 have had a cataract. Many of these people have had surgery to correct the cataract, which restores good vision in almost all cases.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. There are different types of cataracts, including congenital cataract, secondary cataract, and traumatic cataract. The most common type of cataract develops as a person ages. With age-related cataracts, clouding of the lens of the eye generally begins when a person is in their 40s or 50s. This usually happens to both eyes at the same time. Over the years, the clouding gradually worsens and begins to stop some light rays from passing through the lens.

Early in this process, there may be no symptoms. As cataracts progress, symptoms appear and gradually get worse. They include blurred vision, distorted vision, and sensitivity to light. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of cataracts.

Cataracts can affect anyone, but some factors may contribute to the risk of developing the condition. These include smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, advancing age, excessive exposure to sunlight, long-term use of corticosteroid drugs, and exposure to ionizing radiation.

Cataracts are diagnosed through a combination of taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and eye examination by a specialist in eye care, called an ophthalmologist. The eye examination includes using eye drops to enlarge the pupil of the eye so the ophthalmologist can look directly into the eye with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. He or she will also examine the lens of the eye using a slit lamp. These procedures are painless and can help the ophthalmologist to diagnose cataracts, as well as their size, location, and type. Visual acuity, or sharpness of vision, will also be tested by having you read an eye chart located at a specific distance across the room.

Because there are often no symptoms of cataracts in their early stages, a diagnosis can be delayed or missed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of cataracts.

In their early phases of a cataract, treatment may only involve using reading or prescription glasses and magnifiers, and ensuring that lighting is bright enough to see well. As cataracts progress and symptoms can no longer be addressed by these measures, cataract surgery may be an option. Cataract surgery is very effective in restoring vision for the vast majority of people. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of cataract....more »

Cataract: Misdiagnosis

Because most people have no symptoms of cataracts in the early stages, a diagnosis is easy to miss or delay. When symptoms do appear, such as distorted vision, a diagnosis of cataracts can also be delayed because it may be assume that the symptoms are a "normal" part of aging.

Cataracts are not a normal condition, and do not have to be a part of the aging process. Because ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Cataract:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Cataract. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Cataract: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Cataract

Home medical tests possibly related to Cataract:

Causes of Types of Cataract:

Review causes of types of Cataract in more specific categories:

Cataract: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Cataract, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Cataract Treatments

The first step in the treatment of cataracts is prevention. To best minimize the risk of developing cataracts, it is important not to smoke and to wear sunglasses that protect from UVB rays when out in the sun. Prevention also includes eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and effectively managing any chronic conditions, especially diabetes.

In the early phases ...Cataract Treatments

Review further information on Cataract Treatments.

Stories from Users for Cataract

Real-life user stories relating to Cataract:

Cataract: Animations

Cataract: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Cataract may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Causes of Similar Symptoms to Cataract

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Cataract:

Cataract: Deaths

Read more about causes and Cataract deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Cataract

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also occur more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder more »

Cataract: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Cataract

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Cataract: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Cataract: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Article Excerpts about Cataract

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens that can cause vision problems. The most common type is related to aging. More than half of all Americans age 65 and older have a cataract. (Source: excerpt from Facts About Cataract: NEI)

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens that can cause vision problems.... (Source: excerpt from Facts About Cataract: NEI)

Definitions of Cataract:

Partial or complete opacity of the crystalline lens of one or both eyes that decreases visual acuity and eventually results in blindness. Some cataracts appear in infancy or in childhood, but most develop in older individuals. (Diagnostic Surgical Pathology, 3rd ed.) --2003
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Clouding of the natural lens of the eye
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Opacity or cloudiness of the crystalline lens, which may prevent a clear image from forming on the retina; may be congenital or caused by trauma, disease, or age.
- (Source - CRISP)

Detailed list of causes of Cataract

The list below shows some of the causes of Cataract mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Cataract?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Cataract. Of the 281 causes of Cataract that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 5 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 3 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 7 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 271 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Cataract:

The following list of conditions have 'Cataract' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Cataract or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Cataract:

The following list of medical conditions have Cataract or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.








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Causes of Cataract Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Cataract based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Classifications of Cataract:

    Medical Conditions associated with Cataract:

    Eye symptoms (5412 causes), Blurred vision (982 causes), Vision disturbances (251 causes), Vision changes (2526 causes), Visual problems (2143 causes), Impaired vision (1545 causes), Vision distortion (1970 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Cataract:

    Blurred vision (982 causes), Eye symptoms (5412 causes), Double vision (221 causes), Peripheral vision loss (72 causes), Blindness (496 causes), Senile cataract, Diabetes mellitus (66 causes), Steroid induced cataract, Hypermature cataract, Galactosemia, Haloes, Phacoemulsification

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Crome syndrome:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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