Cataract, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. Symptoms of cataract include blurred vision, difficulty reading print and street signs, light sensitivity, and glare disability. Most cataracts are agerelated, but environmental factors such as ultraviolet light exposure, tobacco smoking, diabetes mellitus, trauma, certain congenital infections, and some medications can accelerate their growth. In some hereditary conditions, such as galactosemia, a single gene defect is responsible. Treatment of visually significant cataract, which is highly successful, involves surgically removing the cloudy lens and implanting a clear plastic replacement lens.
KEVIN M. MILLER
(SEE ALSO: Vision Disorders)