Cataracts are a very common eye condition. They cause a change in the lens of your eye which makes your sight cloudy. Cataracts slowly get worse so your sight gets cloudier over time but they can usually be removed with surgery and replaced with an artificial lens to enable you to see more clearly again Cataracts can be caused by a number of things, but by far the most common reason is growing older. Most people over the age of 65 have some changes in their lens which will eventually lead to a cataract. Apart from getting older, the other common causes of cataract include:
- diabetes
- medications, such as steroids
- eye surgery for other eye conditions
- other eye conditions

Gradually, you may find your sight becomes cloudier, making it harder to see. Lights can seem to glare, or you may find that the headlights of a car dazzle you more than they used to. You may also notice a slight change in your colour vision - things may appear more yellow than before. Other colours may also seem different and you may notice that colours look difference when you look at them with one eye.

The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery to remove your cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens implant. Lasers aren't used to remove cataracts and there is no evidence to suggest that changing your diet, taking vitamins or using eye drops can cure cataracts. Cataract surgery is available free on the NHS.

The most common way to remove cataracts is called phacoemulsification. This technique uses sound to break up your natural lens with the cataract. Only really small cuts are used, so you don't need any stitches, and this helps to speed up your recovery from the surgery. For your surgery, you will be given drops to dilate your pupil. Your face will be covered by a sheet, which helps to keep the area around your eye clean during the operation. To remove the cataract, the ophthalmologist needs to remove the natural lens in your eye and replace it with a plastic lens implant.