A pregnant woman and an older women sit on a sofa knitting.


Some studies estimate that cataracts are responsible for 51% of global blindness. That’s approximately 20 million people. And, according to the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California Irvine, more than 50 percent of people over the age of 60 suffer from cataracts1.

Early symptoms of cataract development may include cloudy or blurry vision. Lights may cause a glare, seem too dim or seem too bright. Patients may also find it difficult to read or drive, especially at night, or may have to change eyeglass prescriptions often.

Aside from age, other possible cataract risk factors include2:

  • Intense heat or long-term exposure to the sun's UV rays
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • Hereditary influences
  • Long-term steroid use
  • Eye injuries
  • Smoking

The symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens or IOL3.

1  http://www.eye.uci.edu/cataract.html.  Accessed on March 24, 2014.
2 http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en/index1.html.  Accessed April 2, 2014.
3 http:www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp#4a.  Accessed March 24, 2014.

Information provided is for general background purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by a trained professional. You should always consult your physician about any healthcare questions you may have, especially before trying a new medication, diet, fitness program, or approach to healthcare issues.
  • share Share
  • print Print
  • download Download

You are about to exit for another Abbott country or region specific website

Please be aware that the website you have requested is intended for the residents of a particular country or countries, as noted on that site. As a result, the site may contain information on pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other products or uses of those products that are not approved in other countries or regions.

The website you have requested also may not be optimized for your specific screen size.

Do you wish to continue and exit this website?


You are about to exit the Abbott family of websites for a 3rd party website

Links which take you out of Abbott worldwide websites are not under the control of Abbott, and Abbott is not responsible for the contents of any such site or any further links from such site. Abbott is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the linked site by Abbott.

The website that you have requested also may not be optimized for your screen size.

Do you wish to continue and exit this website?