Generations - 2014-12-01 - Cataracts - Image 01Cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans, with nearly 115,000 of them right here in Hawai‘i. A cataract is when the normally clear lens of the eye starts to become cloudy, which blocks and distorts light necessary for the retina to process images.

The disease occurs naturally as we age, but some risk factors include exposure to ultraviolet light, diet, smoking, diabetes, use of some steroid medications and serious eye injuries. Cataracts usually worsen over time and can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Signs of cataracts include blurred vision, sensitivity to light, fading or yellowing of colors, poor night vision, sensitivity to glare and seeing a halo around bright lights. People at risk should get regular eye exams and be aware of the symptoms, especially if you are over the age of 40.

There are various methods available to correct cataracts, but the general procedure involves removing the clouded lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens implant. Surgery is typically outpatient with very little pain or discomfort. Modern cataract surgery can often be upgraded to include vision correction to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts for those with vision impairments near, far and in between.


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