Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Fortunately, in the United States, vision loss from cataract is almost always reversible. That’s good news for more than 20 million Americans with cataracts.

Cataract is a gradual opacification of the crystalline lens of the eye. As the lens becomes cloudy, vision is blurred. Early symptoms from cataract include difficulty driving, glare, poor night vision, difficulty reading or doing craft work, and overall reduced vision. Cataracts are common in people over the age of 60 as a normal part of the aging process. They also occur in younger people and can be caused by trauma, disease, or long term exposure to ultra violet light from the sun.

When lifestyle is impaired by the blurred vision of a cataract, a short, painless surgical procedure is used to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear lens implant. This procedure is performed well over a million times a year in the United States, and nearly 10,000 times a year in Hawaii. Over 90% of patients, nationwide, end up with excellent vision following cataract surgery.

Technology has continued to improve what can be done at the time of surgery. New surgical techniques and new lens technology allow eye surgeons to offer many patients vision correction at the time of surgery. This is ideal for those who wish to reduce dependence on eyeglasses, restoring youthful vision following surgery.

Advice from an expert: If you experience cloudiness or loss of vision, consult with an eye specialist. For many people, a painless cataract surgery not only improves vision, but improves quality of life and provides many years of excellent vision.

Christopher Tortora, M.D. is a board-certified ophthalmologist at the Hawaiian Eye Center and host of “The Hawaiian Eye Show,” a weekly informational radio program about healthy vision. He and his colleagues at Hawaiian Eye Center are committed to educating the public about the importance of preventative eye care. Hawaiian Eye Center has been serving Hawaii for 36 years with locations in Hilo and Wahiawa. To learn more about a variety of eye health issues, please contact Hawaiian Eye Center at SEE-2020 (733-2020) or visit the website, where “life has never looked better.” Located at 606 Kilani Avenue, Wahiawa, HI 96786.