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Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye that helps focus light onto the back part of the eye called the retina. The lens is located inside the eye, behind the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. When the lens becomes cloudy, it cannot pass light to the retina clearly. The result can be blurry vision, dimming, glare, or double vision. Sometimes the symptoms are worse at night.

Some people may confuse a cataract with a pterygium, a pinkish, triangular-shaped tissue growth of conjunctiva on the cornea. While they both may impair vision, their causes are different. In addition, pterygium grows on the cornea while cataracts develop inside the eye.

What causes a cataract?

Cataracts become more common with age. The lens is made up mostly of protein and water. As we age, the proteins harden and the lens becomes cloudy. This is a cataract. People who are more at risk of developing cataracts are those with diabetes or eye trauma, people who smoke, or those who have had long-term prolonged exposure to sunlight.

How is a cataract treated?

A cataract needs to be surgically removed when it affects everyday activities such as driving, reading or watching television. Cataract removal is one of the most common surgeries in the United States. It also is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery, and it is normally performed on an outpatient basis.

During the operation, the cloudy lens is removed and a new artificial lens is implanted in the eye that can restore eyesight. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have better vision afterward.


Visit our patient education library to learn more about cataracts.

For more information about available cataract treatments in the San Jose, California area or to schedule an appointment, please call Dr. Contreras at (408) 971-2020 or use our online appointment request form.