What you need to know about cataract surgery If you have a cataract means that the natural lens in your eye is cloudy. In a cataract operation your surgeon will remove the cloudy lens and put a clear lens in its place. Your lens is sitting behind the colored part of the eye (iris) and helps you see things straight. When you look at something, light comes into the eye through the hole in the center (the pupil) and passes through the lens at the back of the eyeball (the retina). The light is then converted into nerve signals that travel to your brain. Your brain tells you what the image is. If the lens is cloudy, the image on the back of the eye will be blurry. It's a bit like looking through a dirty windshield or frosted glass. Different parts of the lens can become cloudy. Cataracts commonly start clouding around the edges of the lens. You may notice that you get a lot of glare or "halo" effect around lights, or when the sun is low in the sky. If you drive, you may find the oncoming headlights more difficult to deal with before. Cataracts can also affect the middle of the lens, making your vision foggy. As the cataract develops you get blurred, you can have double vision, you may find it difficult to differentiate between certain colors, especially shades of blue, you can see the effects "halo" around lights, especially at night. Cataracts are common. Approximately one third of people aged over 65 have cataracts in one or both eyes. Aging and exposure to sunlight are the main reasons that people get cataracts. Having diabetes, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of cataracts. A cataract operation can help you see better and stop your bad eyesight interfere with your life. Not everyone with cataracts needs an operation. Doctors usually suggest cataract surgery when your interferes with your daily life rather than when your order reaches a certain score on an eye test. Your cataract may mean you can not see well enough to read, work, play a sport, shopping or driving a car. Some people manage their cataracts for more than the others because of their poor view does not affect them much. For example, a person who loves bird watching may decide that they need treatment before the person whose main hobby is listening to music. In the past, people were informed that their cataract must be "ripe" (very bad) before it is useful to have an operation. This is because cataract surgery was a big operation that took a long time to recover, and artificial lenses used then were not very good. Now, with safer, faster operations, cataracts are generally eliminated earlier, before they cause serious problems. And modern lenses are better. Sometimes a cataract should be removed even if it does not cause problems with your eyesight. This is because there is another eye problem that needs treatment and cataract surgery is on the way. Examples of other eye problems are diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. These are problems with blood vessels in the eye. If you have cataracts in both eyes, it is normal to make them one eye at a time, usually a couple of months or more apart. This is because the treated eye can be painful and must settle for a while. A cataract operation takes about 10 minutes to 20 minutes. You should be able to go home the same day. You may know someone who spent the night after their cataract surgery. Usually people do not stay in the hospital if they have problems after their surgery, if they have other eye diseases (glaucoma, for example) or other medical problems that doctors need to check. For most people it is also sure to be at home as it is to stay in the hospital, and most people prefer to be in familiar surroundings. In hospitals that are very experienced in doing cataract surgery, you can enter and leave the hospital within 90 minutes.