What you need to know about cataracts

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens in your eye. When you have cataracts, it’s difficult for light to get into your eye, which causes blurred vision that may make you feel like you’re looking out a foggy window.1

Cataracts happen naturally as you get older. They develop gradually over time, like dirt slowly building up on a car windshield.2 At first you may not notice any changes to your vision, but eventually you will start to notice symptoms.1

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Eyes with and without cataracts

Learn to recognize cataract symptoms

8 out of 10 people who have not undergone cataract surgery said they did not fully understand the symptoms of cataracts.3*
Remember to schedule regular visits with your eye doctor.

Cataract symptoms1

Cloudy vision

Cloudy vision

When you have a cataract, it can seem like you are looking through a foggy window. At first, only a small part of your vision is cloudy. But as the cataract grows over time, the cloudy area will get larger and your vision may become duller and blurrier.4

Difficulty with night vision

As cataracts get worse, they block more light from reaching the retina. This makes it harder to see and drive at night. You may also need more light for indoor activities such as reading.4

Light and glare sensitivity

Cataracts can make your eyes more sensitive to light. You may notice that indoor lights seem too bright and may have trouble seeing in bright sunlight.4

Halos around lights

When you have cataracts, lights may appear to have halos around them. You may also notice glare around streetlights and traffic lights, making it hard to drive at night.4

Colours appear faded

At first, colours may appear faded. Your vision may also start to have a yellowish-brown tinge. This is gradual at first but may progress to the point where you have trouble telling the difference between black, blue, and purple.4

Double vision in one eye

Cataracts can sometimes cause double vision, where you see two images of a single object at the same time. This occurs even when you have one eye open.4

Frequent changes in your glasses or contact lens prescription

You may need to change your glasses and contact lens prescriptions more frequently. Strangely, some people may even notice an improvement in their near vision and may no longer need their reading glasses for a while. This is sometimes called second sight and usually goes away as the cataract gets worse.4

How are cataracts removed?

The only way to remove cataracts and get back clear vision is through surgery.1

During cataract surgery, your natural cataract-affected lens is replaced with an artificial, or intraocular lens (IOL). Today, there are lens options that might reduce your dependency on glasses.

However, 75% of surveyed cataract surgery patients were NOT informed of these lens options.3*

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Group of people

Over 4 million people have cataract surgery every year across European Union member states.5

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cataracts surgery success rate

Watch now to learn more about cataracts

Cataracts Video

* In a survey of 5,104 adults ages 60+, across 12 countries within Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.3


  1. National Eye Institute Staff. Facts About Cataract. National Eye Institute. September 2009. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Accessed August 13, 2018.
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Cataracts. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Accessed August 13, 2018.
  3. Alcon data on file. More to see campaign survey (EMEA). January 2017.
  4. WebMD. Slideshow: a visual guide to cataracts. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/cataracts/ss/slideshow-cataracts. Accessed August 13, 2018.
  5. Eurostat. Surgical operations and procedures statistics. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Surgical_operations_and_procedures_statistics. Updated September 2017. Accessed June 14, 2018.
  6. Laser eye surgery hub. Cataract Statistics & Resources. Available at: https://www.lasereyesurgeryhub.co.uk/cataract-statistics/. Accessed Aug 20, 2018.