A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens is mostly made of water and protein. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
Various cause of cataracts include, exposure to ultraviolet light, diabetes, use of steroids, diuretics and major tranquilizers, cigarette smoke, air pollution and heavy alcohol consumption. A diet high in antioxidants , such as beta-carotene (vitamin A), selenium and vitamins C and E, may forestall cataract development.
Initially vision may be able to be improved for a while using new spectacles, higher magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. However cataract surgery is usually the eventual treatment. Cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision. In fact, it is the most frequently performed ocular surgery in the New Zealand. Nine out of ten people who have cataract surgery regain very good vision, somewhere between 6/6 and 6/12.