One of many conditions treated by specialists at The Krieger Eye Institute, a cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye.


The lens, located behind the iris, helps to focus light or an image on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. When a cataract forms, it becomes difficult for light to pass through the lens to the retina, and so vision becomes blurred. Cataracts usually develop with aging, but they occasionally occur in young children. Possible causes include:

  • Eye injuries and certain diseases (such as diabetes)
  • Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications (including corticosteroids and phenothiazine-related drugs)
  • Previous eye surgery

With age-related cataracts, changes in vision tend to be gradual. In some cases, a new eyeglass prescription may improve vision at least temporarily.


  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Increased sensitivity to glare from lights
  • Frequent eyeglass or contact lenses prescription changes
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Need for brighter light to read
  • Poor night vision
  • Reduced intensity of colors (bright colors appearing faded or yellow)


 A thorough examination by your ophthalmologist can detect the presence and degree of cataract, as well as any other conditions that may be causing blurred vision or discomfort.


Cataract treatment is based on the severity of the visual impairment.


Symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, anti-glare coatings on eyeglass lenses, and the usage of brighter lighting while reading. However, when cataracts progress to the point that they interfere with your ability to do normal, everyday activities, surgery may be the only effective treatment. Some medical studies have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to a reduced risk of certain eye diseases, including cataracts. However, no medications, dietary supplements, exercises or optical devices have definitively been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.