These may be described as a loss of clarity within the confines of the lens. Various causes are responsible, but the underlying mechanism is a disruption in the electrolyte and water balance of the lens. Primarily, time will cause the clear and transparent lens inside our eye at birth to become more suntanned and translucent over time. It's like looking through a clear picture window at birth to looking through a suntanned shower door later in life. Numerous forms of cataracts are possible, of which some proceed to disrupt vision more dramatically than others.
So from the day we are born we start down this road and it is usually not until we are in our late 70's and 80's before the lens needs to be removed by surgery. At this time, it is felt that a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables along with UV protection in sunglasses may help slow the cataract formation down.
Typically, cataract surgery is a 10-20 minute procedure where an artificial lens is put back into the emptied lens capsule. This intra-ocular lens implant, usually has just one power specially selected for the optics of your eye, to help you see well in the distance only. While not for everyone, new developments have allowed for multifocal intraocular lens designs and accommodative intraocular designs. These later developments have optics to help you see in the distance and near, creating less dependence on corrective lenses after surgery.
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Last Change: 2 December, 2013