Skip to main content
Home » Index » What are cataracts?

What are cataracts?

What Cataracts Are

Hi, everyone! It's Dr. Stephanie Woo with the Contact Lens Institute of Nevada, and today I'm just answering a question on what a cataract is. You may have heard from friends or family that have had cataract surgery it is a very, very common procedure that is done all over the world, especially here in the United States. So I just kinda wanted to go over what a cataract is and kind of what happens during cataract surgery.

So we've got a little eye model here. So we've got the white part of the eye. We've got the front part of the eye here and then basically behind the iris, the colored part of the eye here. Right behind the iris, there is a lens. And in your eye, it's about the size of an M&M.

So imagine this lens growing new layers like an onion, so it's always getting thicker and more dense over time. So there's nothing that you can really do about that. It's just something that happens to everybody. But as this lens kind of thickens and changes shape and size, becomes more dense, the light has a difficult time coming into the eye and developing a clear image. And so what happens is we need to take this lens out and develop something and put something in that is more clear. So what happens is the capsule of the cataract… Think of it like a little bag that kind of holds it in place. Or let's say, if you are going with the M&M analogy, the shell of the M&M kind of stays in place, and they take all the contents of the M&M out. So all the chocolate kind of comes out during the surgery. So they've got this cloudy lens in here, and they remove that cloudy, dense lens, and then they replace it with a clear lens. And so now that gives you much better vision. A lot of times, patients notice that their color vision is much better, night driving is better, and glare is better.

So hopefully, that helps answer questions on what cataracts are and kind of a little bit about cataract surgery. Thanks!