Focus on Cataracts


Please note that this page is for information only, it is not a replacement for medical advice.
If you have any questions regarding cataracts or any other eye condition, please consult a medical professional. 

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts is a condition in which the inside of the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred or 'misty' vision, this is often accompanied with light glare.

The lens of the eye is normally clear and helps to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. In the case of cataracts, the lens becomes opaque and scatters the light entering the eye, which makes it harder to see clearly.

Cataracts can develop slowly over time, usually in both eyes although they may not develop at the same time. They can also develop rapidly in response to an injury or illness such as diabetes. Cataracts are a normal part of ageing, and so are more prevalent in older adults, but they can also affect younger people, babies and children.

Cataracts can also be caused by long-term exposure to UV radiation, smoking, or certain medications. 

Cataracts are a common condition, especially in older adults. According to the World Health Organisation, cataracts affect millions of people worldwide and is the leading cause of blindness in middle and low-income countries.  

Treatment for cataracts usually involves surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens. This is known as a 'refractive lens exchange operation'. It's usually a quick operation that takes under an hour. (Moorfields Eye Hospital)


Cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older. By age 75, around half of all Americans have cataracts.

American Academy of Opthalmology


Symptoms of Cataracts 

The symptoms of cataracts can vary, depending on the severity of the condition. Some common symptoms include:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Difficulty seeing in low light conditions
  • Increased sensitivity to glare, especially when driving at night
  • Fading or yellowing of colours
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Needing a brighter light for reading or other activities
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Changes in your glasses prescription that don't seem to improve vision

These symptoms can be mild at first, but as cataracts progress, they can become more severe and begin to interfere with daily activities. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an evaluation and advice.

What Cataracts might look like

a group of children. The image looks faded and misty, as though a with a white cloud is in front of the children      Image of a golden retriever dog. The image is washed out and cloudy to represent what a person with cataracts might experience

Please note these are a simulation of cataracts, based on the anecdotal experiences of people who have the condition. These images are not the experience of everyone with cataracts and are for illustration purposes only.

Diagnosis of Cataracts

Cataracts can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam that includes several tests to evaluate your visual acuity and the health of your eyes. Here are some common diagnostic tests for cataracts:

Visual Acuity Test

This is a basic eye chart test that measures how well you can see at various distances.

Slit-lamp exam

The doctor uses a special microscope with a bright light to examine the structures of your eyes, including the lens, to look for signs of cataracts.

Retinal exam

The doctor may dilate your pupils with eye drops to examine the retina at the back of the eye for any damage or other conditions that may be affecting your vision.


This test measures the pressure inside your eyes, which can help diagnose glaucoma, a condition that can develop alongside cataracts.

Contrast sensitivity test

This test measures your ability to distinguish between light and dark shades of grey, which can be affected by cataracts.

If cataracts are detected during your exam, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will discuss the best treatment options with you. This might include monitoring the cataracts, prescribing corrective lenses, or referring you for cataract surgery.



Developing cataracts is a normal part of growing older. Most people start to develop cataracts after the age of 65.



Treatment of Cataracts

The only effective treatment for cataracts is to have surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Here are some common methods for treating cataracts:


If the cataract is mild and not affecting your daily life, your doctor may monitor it and suggest that you use corrective lenses to help improve your vision.

Prescription glasses or contact lenses

If you have mild cataracts, your doctor may suggest a prescription for corrective lenses to help improve your vision. 


If the cataract is severe and is affecting your daily life, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may recommend cataract surgery. During this procedure, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens, which can restore your vision.

Cataract surgery is typically a safe and effective outpatient procedure.

If you have cataracts, it is important to speak with a medical professional to discuss the best treatment options for you. They will consider your individual circumstances and work with you to determine the best course of action for improving your vision.

The good news is that cataracts can be treated. So it's important to seek medical advice if your vision is being significantly impacted by cataracts. With the right treatment and support, you can continue to enjoy your independence and lead a fulfilling life.

Living with Cataracts

Living with cataracts can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to manage your condition and maintain your quality of life. Here are some tips for living with cataracts:

Regular eye exams

Schedule regular eye exams with an eye doctor to monitor the progression of your cataracts and discuss treatment options.

Good Lighting 

Make sure your home is well-lit and use task lighting for activities such as reading or cooking.

Magnifying aids

Consider using magnifying aids, such as a magnifying glass, large-print books or a screen magnifier if you use a computer, to help you see better.

Anti-glare sunglasses

Wear sunglasses with anti-glare coatings to reduce glare and improve your vision in bright sunlight.

Good Nutrition

Eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, to help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

Fall Prevention

Cataracts can affect your balance and depth perception, so take steps to prevent falls by using handrails, wearing sensible footwear, and avoiding hazardous areas. 


Seek support from family, friends, and support groups to help you manage the emotional and practical challenges of living with cataracts.

Use assistive technology

There's lots of technology available to help you with everyday tasks, such as reading your mail, connecting with loved ones and accessing entertainment. Whatever your experience is with computers, Dolphin assistive technology can help. Assistive tech from Dolphin includes screen magnifiers and accessible book readers.

It's important to remember that cataracts can be treated. It's important to seek medical advice if your vision is being significantly impacted by cataracts. With the right treatment and support, you can continue to enjoy a fulfilling life, maintain your independence and connect with your loved ones.


Where to find more information about cataracts

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Royal National Institute for Blind People

Information and support for people with cataracts. Advice and information on cataract surgery.

Visit RNIB UK >

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NHS Website

To find out more about Age-related cataracts and learn when and how to get treatment in the UK, visit the NHS Health website. 

NHS Cataracts >

National Eye Institute logo

National Eye Institute (USA)

Find out more about cataracts from the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institute for Health in the USA. 

Visit NIH website >

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How Dolphin assistive technology can help you live with cataracts

How Dolphin makes a difference

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If you are blind or partially sighted, Dolphin assistive technology helps you maintain your independence. We have developed specialist software, specifically for people experiencing sight loss.

For over 35 years, we have made a difference to the lives of millions of people who are blind or partially sighted. Dolphin software includes screen magnification and screen reading technology, book reading apps and easy to use computer programs. These work to help people with sight loss to work or study, to complete tasks independently at home, to access the internet and read all the information on a computer screen.

Assistive Tech for Home

About GuideConnect

GuideConnect is easy-to-use computer technology, designed for people with visual impairments. It is suitable for beginners or experienced computer users and can be used through your own TV, on a tablet or computer. It has high-contrast icons, talking menus and adjustable text sizes to help guide you through many different tasks. 

GuideConnect helps people who are losing their sight stay independent for longer. It connects you to friends and family, enables you to do everyday tasks like reading your post and provides access to a range of entertainment such as audiobooks, games and radio. 

GuideConnect Info

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