Cataract: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 2/27/2019

A cataract is a clouding or loss of transparency of the lens of the eye. Cataracts are most common in old age and arise due to tissue breakdown. There are many causes of cataracts, including aging, trauma or injury to the eye, diabetes, or other conditions. Obesity, smoking, family history of the condition, ultraviolet radiation exposure, previous eye surgery, and high blood pressure are other risk factors for developing cataracts.

Symptoms and signs of cataracts include clouded or blurred vision, vision loss, seeing halos around lights, inability to see at night or in dim light, and sensitivity to light (photophobia) and glare. Associated symptoms can include double vision and fading or perceived yellowing of colors. Cataracts do not cause eye pain.

Causes of cataracts

Age-related changes to the eye's lens are the primary cause of cataracts. Genetics, diabetes, long-term use of steroid medications, eye injuries, and previous eye surgeries may also cause cataracts.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2019

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.