What are cataracts?

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye.  Most cataracts are associated with getting older. The clear lens inside the eye gradually becomes misty.  If a cataract develops so that it stops light entering the eye, it can usually be removed by surgery and a clear artificial lens placed inside the eye.

Some people develop cataracts early if they have a general health condition, or following trauma to the eye.  If a baby develops a cataract around the time of their birth this is known as a congenital cataract – early treatment is usually recommended.

If you have a cataract, you can have it removed at any stage of its development. However, because any surgery involves some risk, you would usually wait until there is some change in your vision. If you have another eye condition, as well as cataract, your eye specialist will talk with you about whether removing your cataract is likely to improve your vision.