What is a Cataract?

Tuesday, 01 Jun 2021

Cataract Facts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, responsible for just over half [51%] the cases of blindness around the world.

That’s around 20 million people – the majority of them living in developing countries.

A cataract is the milky clouding of the eye lens. Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes.

Trying to see with a cataract has been likened to fogging on a camera lens.

Cataracts reduce clear vision and if left untreated, can cause permanent, lifelong damage and blindness.

Blindness from cataracts is also avoidable in most cases, in fact the World Health Organisation reports that about 80% of vision impairment is considered avoidable.

Sadly, many people with cataracts in developing countries lack access to affordable eye care and surgery.

While cataracts are most commonly diagnosed among people aged 60 and up, it can occur in younger people and children too.

Children, especially, require early detection and treatment so their eyesight continues to develop normally.


The first, and main, symptom of cataracts is blurry vision.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Increased difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • A need for brighter light when reading
  • Distortion or ‘double vision’ in the affected eye


Who is at Risk?

Some eye diseases, including cataracts, are hereditary.

Other causes of cataracts include:

  • Diabetes
  • Long-term and unprotected exposure to UV sunlight
  • Smoking
  • Eye trauma caused by injury


The great news is that there are very safe surgical treatments available.

Cataract surgery involves an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) removing the clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. This lens is very durable and should last a lifetime.

If surgery on both eyes is required, procedures will be conducted separately and several weeks apart.

In about 90% of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision as a result.


This Tax Time you can help Save Sight!

Your gift to save sight will keep a child’s dreams alive. Make a donation today. All gifts given before 30 June 2021 will be DOUBLED! (up to a total of $569,663).