According to the Eye Care Office of Ofner, Neale and Fleming, cataracts of the eye create a clouding of the lens inside the eye, behind the pupil or iris (the colored portion of the eye), that is often mistaken for a film over the eye. Cataracts are a common aspect to the aging process. Early signs of cataracts include decreased distance vision and decreased vision while reading.
Optometrist Dr. Nolan Barit explains that clouding occurs as a result of changing proteins and eye lens fibers. In most cases, cataracts occur in individuals aged 55 or older. Cataracts do not cause pain. Symptoms include blurred vision, spots in front of the eyes and the feeling of film over the eyes.
According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, cataract symptoms tend to develop slowly and many people experience cataracts in both eyes. Individuals with cataracts often experience gradual sight changes, such as cloudiness or washed out vision and the need for additional light when reading. Cataracts are treated by removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery typically takes between 30 and 40 minutes and usually involves a local anesthetic that consists of eye drops or an injection.