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What are Cataracts?

Your eye’s natural lens sits behind the iris and pupil and works similarly to a camera lens.  This natural crystalline lens of the eye is clear and is primarily responsible for focusing light on the retina.  Any clouding of the natural lens is called a cataract.  Cataracts cause blurry vision that affects the person’s ability to see clearly and function effectively.

Cataracts occur most commonly as a result of age and everyone will eventually have cataracts if they live long enough.  Some people develop cataracts at a young age and these can be a result of heredity, trauma, diabetes and certain medications. 


Symptoms of cataracts can vary with each patient, but traditional signs include:

  • Cloudy and/or blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Halo or glare effects
  • White spots over the pupil
  • Loss of vision over time
  • Problems seeing at night

Contact our cataract surgeons in Utah for more information on cataract symptoms.

Types of Cataracts

There are various types of cataracts that can cause debilitating visual symptoms, including:

  • Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract – the most common form, typically occurring with the natural aging process.
  • Posterior Sub-Capsular Cataract – often occurring in patients who have suffered eye injury, have diabetes, high farsightedness, retinitis pigmentosa or have been treated with certain medications. 
  • Cortical Cataract – characterized by white or gray clefts in the lens and also associated with aging.  Many diabetics develop cortical cataracts.

Cataracts can also occur in combination of these types, creating an even greater risk of vision loss.

Although typically occuring in patients with advancing age, cataracts can form at birth and in early childhood in some patients, as well as diabetics and patients afflicted with any number of conditions. Individuals should get regular eye exams and tell their doctor if they are experiencing any symptoms, no matter how mild. Early detection of cataracts is the best way of determining the most effective treatment.

Please contact The Eye Institute for more information on cataracts, or to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Institute