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A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that may reduce your vision. The structure of the lens also changes as the cataract develops.
There are different types of cataract but the two main types are (1) age- related cataract (the most common) and (2) congenital cataracts (present at birth) which are uncommon but important to diagnose early as if undiagnosed the eye may not learn to see which can result in blindness even if the cataracts are removed later in life.
It is not known why age-related cataracts develop but there are certain factors which increase your chances of developing them:
For many people, use of glasses and/or contact lenses are sufficient to improve vision but cataracts are likely to worsen over time and so at some point it may be appropriate to consider surgery. Essentially, this means surgically removing the cataract (s) and replacing the damaged lens with an artificial one. The most common technique being phacoemulsification (small incision surgery).