Cataracts are cloudy patches that develop in the lens of your eye and can cause blurred or misty vision. They are very common.

The lens is the transparent structure that sits just behind your pupil (the black dot in the centre of your eye). It allows light to get to the back of your eye (retina).

In some people, cataracts develop in the lens as they get older, stopping some of the light from reaching the back of the eye.

Over time, the cataracts become worse and start affecting vision. Many people with cataracts will eventually need surgery to remove and replace the affected lens.

Symptoms of cataracts

Cataracts develop over many years and problems may at first be unnoticeable. They often develop in both eyes, although each eye may be affected differently.

You will usually have blurred, cloudy or misty vision, or you may have small spots or patches where your vision is less clear.

Cataracts may also affect your sight in the following ways:

  • You may find it more difficult to see in dim or very bright light
  • The glare from bright lights may be dazzling or uncomfortable to look at
  • Colours may look faded or less clear
  • Everything may have a yellow or brown tinge
  • You may have double vision
  • You may see a halo (a circle of light) around bright lights, such as car headlights or street lights
  • If you wear glasses, you may find that they become less effective over time

Cataracts are not painful and don’t make your eyes red or irritated.

Further Information

Cataracts (NHS Choices)