What is a Cataract?

cataract is a color change of your god given lens.
A Cataract is a color change of your natural lens, it starts out clear then becomes yellowish brown.

Cataracts are the leading cause of REVERSIBLE blindness world wide.  They occur as a natural part of aging and there is nothing you can do to stop them from forming (luckily for all of us cataract surgeons :).

From a medical standpoint, a cataract is simply a COLOR change of your natural LENS.  cataract is derived from the Latin word cataracta that means “Waterfall”.  Matter of fact, one of the definitions of cataract in Websters dictionary is “A Large Waterfall”.  When your lens begins to change color it does so very slowly over time.  Cataracts are nothing that happen over night (usually), they take many decades to become symptomatic.  As a cataract develops, your lens first turns yellow then brown and if not treated will eventually turn a gray white that, from an outsiders view, looks like a waterfall.  

 Have you ever seen an old dog that has a white spot in the center of their eye?  That’s a Cataract.  

This is a classic cataract in a dog.  You can see in the center of the pupil that his lens is beginning to turn white
Kind of looks like a waterfall……

As a cataract slowly develops, it begins to change the color and consistency of your lens.  If you can imagine your 18 year old lens being crystal clear like a pure glass of water.  All light can pass through the clear water and your vision is fantastic.  As you age, imagine someone slowly putting drops of coffee in that clear glass of water.  One drop at a time, slowly over the course of a few decades.  As the clear glass of water begins to turn yellowish brown, all the light that comes in no longer goes all the way through.  Some of the light is scattered, some light gets absorbed and some light gets through.

Cataract development is like slowly pouring coffee in a glass of water.  It slowly changes color over time.
A gradual color change of your lens is a cataract. It’s like slowly pouring coffee into a glass of water.

At the point when more light is scattered and absorbed than is transmitted, we begin to have visual symptoms.  Cataracts are PAINLESS! 


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