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Though many people have heard of cataracts, not everyone knows exactly what they are. Contrary to popular belief, they are not a film growing over your eye. A cataract actually occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy, making it harder for light to enter your eye. This can cause obscured or blurred vision, similar to looking out a foggy window. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, you’re not alone — they’re a natural part of the aging process, and they affect more than 20.5 million Americans over 40.

What Are Cataract Symptoms?

Cataracts often develop slowly. In fact, most people learn they have cataracts after a routine eye exam. This is usually followed by a visit to an ophthalmologist — an eye doctor who’s trained to perform eye surgery. Regular visits to your eye care specialist are important for catching cataracts before they cause problematic changes in your vision. You can also watch out for cataract symptoms like:

  • Cloudy, blurry or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty with night vision
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing rings or halos around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision in a single eye