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What is a cataract, exactly?

Updated: May 1, 2019

Most of us have heard of a cataract. We often get it confused with an eye disease, glaucoma (more on that in the next blog post). A cataract is not an eye disease, and everyone will get one if they live long enough. Here's the rundown.


A natural lens sits inside the eye and behind the pupil. Similar to a camera lens, it bends and refracts light to help us see.

Image via Quartz

A cataract is simply when the lens becomes cloudy, which occurs with age. Early signs can be detected by an eye doctor around age 50, but signs can also happen sooner or later. Vision problems may not develop until much later even though your eye doctor may still see signs of it.