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A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. Depending on the degree of cloudiness, a cataract can cause a little blurring or severe loss of vision. The rate at which a cataract progresses is highly variable. It is not a tumor or a growth. It is not a film over the eye that can be peeled away. Vision can only be restored by surgical removal of the cataract. One out of every fifty people will find it necessary to have this cloudy lens removed. Approximately 1,000,000 cataract operations are done each year in the United States.

The majority of cataracts form later in life as a normal part of the aging process. Some people develop cataracts earlier than others without any other eye problems. Cataracts can develop as a result of injury, eye disease, systemic problems (such as diabetes), side effects from certain medications, and in some rare cases babies are born with them. Cataracts are not caused or worsened by reading, watching too much television, sewing, or any other normal visual activity. Limiting your visual activity will not slow down the progression of a cataract.

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