What is a Cataract?

Cataract diagram

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. It is not a film over the outside of the eye, as many people think. The lens is located inside the eye, behind the iris (the colored part of the eye), and helps to focus the light rays for clear vision. With age, and sometimes as a side effect of medications, the lens becomes clouded. This clouding of the lens results in blurred vision.

Cataract symptoms:

  • Painless loss of visual clarity
  • Changes in eyeglass prescription needs
  • Glare and light sensitivity
  • Reduced night time vision
  • A need for brighter light to read
  • Loss of color vision

While cataracts often affect both eyes, sometimes only one eye is affected. It is common for one cataract to be more cloudy, resulting in poorer vision in one eye compared to the other. Most often, cataracts occur as a natural consequence of aging. Lens clouding forms to a greater or lesser degree in everyone with age. A family history increases the risk of cataracts. Cataracts are also caused by:

  • Some medical problems, like diabetes
  • Previous eye injuries or surgery
  • Congenital defect
  • Medications, such as cortisone (prednisone)
  • Lifetime ultraviolet light exposure (sunlight)
  • Other eye diseases like iritis

A comprehensive eye examination by an eye care professional (ophthalmologist or optometrist) can detect the presence and extent of a cataract. There can also be reasons other than cataracts for worsened vision, including diseases of the cornea, retina or optic nerve. If another disease is present with a cataract, perfect vision may not be restored after cataract surgery. Cataract surgery involves removing the natural lens (that has become clouded) and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens implant. Other areas of this website deal in detail with this subject.

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Our Locations

Barnes Road
9555 SW Barnes Rd.
#201 (2nd floor)
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 227-2020 see more
Gresham
24601 SE Stark St.
Suite 245
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 255-2291 see more
Hillsboro
6111 NE Cornell Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-9400 see more
Milwaukie
11086 SE Oak St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 656-4221 see more
Mt. Tabor
5935 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97206
503 777-5546 see more
North Portland
3246 N. Lombard
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-1671 see more
Northeast Portland
5050 NE Hoyt St., #245
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 255-2291 see more
Northwest Portland
1955 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-2020 see more
Oregon City
1306 Division St
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 656-4221 see more
Southeast Portland
10819 SE Stark St,
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-2291 see more
Sunnyside
12050 SE Stevens Rd, Suite 100
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 783-3300 see more
Tigard
15298 SW Royalty Parkway
Tigard OR 97224
(503) 227-2020 see more
Wilsonville
29250 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 582-0000 see more
Westside Surgery Center
13240 SW Pacific Hwy
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 639-6571 see more
EyeHealth Eastside Surgery and Laser Center
12050 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(971) 206-6100 see more

Our Locations

Barnes Road
9555 SW Barnes Rd.
#201 (2nd floor)
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 227-2020 see more
Gresham
24601 SE Stark St.
Suite 245
Troutdale, OR 97060
(503) 255-2291 see more
Hillsboro
6111 NE Cornell Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-9400 see more
Milwaukie
11086 SE Oak St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 656-4221 see more
Mt. Tabor
5935 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97206
503 777-5546 see more
North Portland
3246 N. Lombard
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-1671 see more
Northeast Portland
5050 NE Hoyt St., #245
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 255-2291 see more
Northwest Portland
1955 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-2020 see more
Oregon City
1306 Division St
Oregon City, OR 97045
(503) 656-4221 see more
Southeast Portland
10819 SE Stark St,
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 255-2291 see more
Sunnyside
12050 SE Stevens Rd, Suite 100
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(503) 783-3300 see more
Tigard
15298 SW Royalty Parkway
Tigard OR 97224
(503) 227-2020 see more
Wilsonville
29250 SW Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 582-0000 see more
Surgery Centers

Westside Surgery Center

13240 SW Pacific Hwy
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 639-6571 see more

EyeHealth Eastside Surgery and Laser Center

12050 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086
(971) 206-6100 see more