What are Cataracts? A Cataract is a condition where the eyes get clouded and as a result normal vision becomes impaired. This is because the lens of the eye is the portion that gets clouded, preventing light reaching the retina. It happens most commonly to seniors and older adults. Most commonly, it affects seniors above age 60. A cataract can form under the lens or at the center near the pupil of the eye. There are several different types of cataracts and each one is caused by different reasons. However, in most cases a cataract is an age related symptom affecting older adults. This type of cataract is simply known as age related cataracts.The other types of cataracts are traumatic cataract, secondary cataract, radiation cataract and congenital cataract. Traumatic cataract is the result of an eye injury. Sometimes, the cataract may not form until years later. A secondary cataract can happen as a side effect from doing surgery for other eye related problems such as glaucoma. It can also happen from health related issues such as diabetes, or life style choices such as smoking. In fact, smoking is a leading cause of this type of cataract. Secondary cataract has been linked with steroids. Radiation cataract as the name shows happens due to exposure to radiation. This is the rarest of all cataract types. Congenital cataract happens at birth. Sometimes babies will be born with a cataract in one or both eyes. In many cases it will be so small that it will not necessarily affect vision. If vision gets affected then the lenses may have to be replaced. Cataract symptoms Unless the person has suffered serious injury to the eye and gets a traumatic cataract in one eye, most of the time it will happen to both eyes. The first symptoms tend to be blurred vision, and sensitivity to light exposure. Sometimes the persons vision will have a yellowish hue to it and halos will appear around lights. The quality of vision can also drop dramatically at night time or dark environments. Being able to see shapes and judging distances will be impaired at night time. There is common misconception that a cataract can cause pain and itchiness. However, this is not true. On the other hand, there is a possibility for the cataract to embed itself in the lens, which can cause inflammation. This in turn can cause headaches, but no direct pain to the eye. If matters have reached this stage then it is important to make a visit to the doctor as soon as possible. Cataract treatments There are three options available to treat a cataract, and the good news is that each procedure is fairly routine and comes with relatively low risk. The three surgical procedures are intracapsular surgery, phacoemulsification and extracapsular surgery. Intracapsular surgery Intracapsular surgery is done only in most extreme cases. It is done on patients who have experienced extreme eye trauma. In this surgical procedure, a large incision will be done to remove both the lens as well as the capsular bag. The capsular bag is what holds the lens in place. Afterwards, a new implant will be placed on top of the iris, as opposed to in the area where the affected lens was located. Phacoemulsification surgery For this procedure, the affected lens is dissolved using ultrasound technology and taken out. However, the capsular bag is left in place and a new, artificial lens will be attached to it. Extracapsular surgery This procedure is done to patients needing more advanced cataract treatment. It is similar to Phacoemulsification surgery, except that the natural lens is not dissolved. Next, the artificial lens will be placed on the capsular bag.