A cataract is a clouding of the natural intraocular crystalline lens that focuses the light entering the eye onto the retina. This cloudiness can cause a decrease in vision and may lead to eventual blindness if left untreated. Cataracts often develop slowly and painlessly, so vision and lifestyle can be affected without a person realizing it.
Worldwide, cataracts are the number one cause of preventable blindness. There is no medical treatment to prevent the development or progression of cataracts.
Modern cataract surgery, which is the removal of the cloudy lens and implantation of a clear intraocular lens (IOL), is the only definitive treatment for cataracts.
Most frequently cataracts are a consequence of aging of the eye lens. However cataracts can also be congenital and occur from birth, or can be a consequence of eye disease, systemic disease or any injury to the eye.