Cataracts are a condition where the lens (a part of the eye that focuses light) becomes cloudy. The lenses in the eyes are normally clear or transparent, but with age, the structure or chemical makeup of the lens changes, causing them to "cloud over." This causes a gradual and painless loss of vision, which can eventually lead to blindness. Fortunately, the process can almost always be corrected with surgery.
Cataracts are very common. In fact, they are the most common cause of blindness worldwide. They usually begin to appear after age 50, and about half of people aged 75 are affected. While we're all at risk of getting them as we age, some things make cataracts more likely, including cigarette smoking, lack of vitamins, sun exposure, and certain medications (see below).