Cataracts – The Leading Cause of Blindness for Those 55 Years and Older

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness for those 55 years and older, according to Eye Care America, and more than half of those over 65 have some degree of cataract development.

Here’s a rundown of the seven facts you should know about this condition:

  1. Cataract extractions are the most common surgical procedure in the United States: more than two million are performed each year. The name comes from the Greek word kataraktēs, meaning “waterfall.” The Greeks and Romans thought cataracts were formed by evil liquids that flowed like a waterfall into the eye. A papyrus dating to 1,500 BCE describes what was probably a cataract under the phrase “the mounting of water in the eye.”

Cataracts – The Leading Cause of Blindness for Those 55 Years and Older2. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which is normally clear. A healthy lens allows light to pass through to the back of the eye, so that the patient can see well-defined images. A cataract scatters the light as it passes through the lens, preventing a sharply defined image from reaching the retina. As a result, your vision becomes blurred, like looking through a fogged-up window. Some cataracts are congenital, but most are caused by aging.

  1. These changes in your vision may be signs of cataract:
  1. Having blurred or double vision, ghost images, or a “film” over the eyes
  2. Worsening night vision
  3. Difficulty seeing while reading or performing other close-up work under standard lighting conditions, or sensitivity to light and glare
  4. Frequent changes in vision prescriptions
  1. There are several factors that we cannot control that may increase the risk of developing cataracts: age, family history, and ethnicity (African Americans have a higher risk for developing and becoming blind from cataracts). Some studies also suggest that women may be at a slightly higher risk than men.

  2. Risk factors for cataracts that we can control include not smoking, reducing exposure to sunlight by wearing UVA/UVB protective sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats, controlling other diseases such as diabetes, and eating a healthy diet.

  3. According to a Tufts University study, diet can have a significant effect on cataract development: “Those who consumed less than 1.5 servings of fruit or fruit juice per day or less than two servings of vegetables or vegetable juice were three and a half times more likely to have cataracts.” Cataracts were 5.6 times more prevalent among those with the lowest levels of carotenoid intake. Carotenoids are abundant in dark-green leafy vegetables, as well as orange and red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, peaches, squash, and, of course, carrots.

  4. According to All About Vision, some experts advise that, even with a healthy diet, in order to fight cataracts it is prudent to consider adding eye vitamin supplements. In particular, research suggests that supplementation with N-acetyl and L-cysteine may play a role in preventing cataracts or slowing their progression.

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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7 responses to “Cataracts – The Leading Cause of Blindness for Those 55 Years and Older”

  1. Avatar for P.P.Ramayya P.P.Ramayya says:

    I am thankful to you for sending this useful information regarding cataract.I was quiet ignorant of many facts regarding cataract till I read your literature.I will educate my friends and relatives regarding these facts.Please get me informed regarding many of the common eye ailments.I like to know about river blindness.
    Thanking you

  2. Avatar for W.J. (Bill) Handel W.J. (Bill) Handel says:

    Hello Tyler:
    We went to buy, and we found there are 3 types to choose from.

    1) N-Acetylcysteine
    2) L-cysteine
    3) N-Acetyl/L-cysteine

    Please advise which is best to take or if a combination is O.K..

    As ever in The Spirit of Goodness,
    W.J.(Bill) Handel

  3. Avatar for sumita mitra sumita mitra says:

    Your write up on cataract was very informative of those facts on which we were ignorant. Thanks for the knowledge shared. I would like u to share with us some eye exercises or yogas which would enhance the power of the eye and help us to have a clear vision without spectacles.
    Thanking you,

    Sumita Mitra.

  4. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Tyler Sorensen says:

    Hi Bill,

    Our Rebuild Your Vision Ocu-Plus formula contains N-Acetyl Cysteine. You can read more about it at

    To your vision — for life,


  5. Avatar for Naveen Bhatty Naveen Bhatty says:

    I have a cataract in my left eye while the same is also dfeveloping in my right eye
    which specialist do you recommend
    Naveen Bhatty

  6. Avatar for Nolan K Philander Nolan K Philander says:

    Hi Tyler,

    I thank you for your very informative news/letters regarding healthy eyes and sharp vision.

  7. Avatar for Andressa Andressa says:

    I had PRK 4 weeks ago tomorrow and soitmmees my vision still fluctuates a little but overall, I am 100% satisfied and have been for a couple of weeks already.At my last postop check (12 days postop), I was 20/30 in my right eye (also injured the cornea a little with a scratch 4 days before this appointment) and 20/20 in my left. I know my right eye vision has improved even more about as close to 20/20 as I can tell without an eye exam.My surgeon told me that my vision could fluctuate for 3-6 months and I’ve been able to correlate the blurred vision to dry eyes drops and blinking have helped to decrease that blur. But I’ve also noticed as time goes on, the fluctuating is decreasing.I’d say that my vision really started getting back to normal around 2-3 weeks. Be are nearly there :)I’m actually 100% satisfied and have been since 12 days postop going from worse than 20/400 to 20/30 in my right eye was awesome and being 20/20 in my left WOW!Just be patient you will probably really start seeing some differences within the next week. Just keep up with your drops (Pred Forte taper?? I was on Pred Forte on a taper for 3 weeks), and plenty of artificial tears as often as you need them that will help keep your corneas moist to aid in healing also take your Vitamin C 1000 mg a day (my surgeon told me to do this) and stay well hydrated with water.Good luck!

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