A cataract is a cloudiness in the eye's lens that impairs vision. The cause isn't usually known, although sometimes cataracts can result from exposure to X-rays or strong sunlight, inflammatory eye diseases, or certain medications.


  • disturbance to bright lights (seeing halos around lights, glare, or scattering of light)
  • double vision
  • dull, faded colour or inability to distinguish between colours
  • poor night vision
  • progressive, painless loss of vision


Usually, you can decide when to have a cataract surgically removed. If you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or unable to perform daily tasks, you may be ready for surgery. There's no advantage to having surgery before then.

Before surgery, other treatments can be tried:

  • eyeglass and contact lenses may improve vision
  • medications that keep the pupil dilated may help people who don't have glaucoma
  • wearing sunglasses in bright light and lamps with reflected lighting rather than direct lighting may decrease glare and help you see better

Cataract surgery

  • Surgery is common, safe, and can be performed at any age. It doesn't usually require a general anesthetic or an overnight stay in the hospital.
  • During the operation, the lens is removed and replaced with a new plastic or silicone lens called a lens implant.
  • Without a lens implant, contact lens or eyeglasses are usually needed.
  • An infection or hemorrhage is rare after surgery.
  • You may need extra help around the house for a few days after surgery, especially for older patients.
  • Your doctor will want you to apply eye drops or ointment for a few weeks following surgery to reduce inflammation, prevent infection, and promote healing.
  • You may need to wear glasses or a metal shield to protect against injury for a few weeks.
  • Your doctor will usually schedule a follow-up visit the day after surgery and every week or every other week for 6 weeks.
Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team