A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Your eye’s natural lens is located directly behind the pupil and is made up of mostly water and protein. As you get older, the protein parts of the lens can begin to clump together. These clumps start small but grow larger over time. The bigger they get, the more they can compromise your vision. A cataract can make objects appear blurry and colors seem less bright. Additionally, it can cause glare and halos around headlights and streetlights.
Cataracts are a common condition, especially for older people. Cataracts typically begin developing in people age 40 years and older but don’t usually begin to impair vision until after age 60. However, younger people can develop cataracts, too. These juvenile cataracts (in children) can be caused by a genetic mutation that affects proteins, by metabolic disorders, or by trauma (eye injury). Annual eye exams, especially after the age of 40, are important to monitor the appearance and progression of cataracts.