WESTERN OPHTHALMIC HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WESTERN OPHTHALMIC HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Close-up of the eye showing a mature cataract. Cataract is a general term that describes a denaturation of proteins in the eye's lens that produces an opacity and consequent loss of sight of varying severity. This mature cataract appears as a white mass behind the iris. The most common cause is aging, with the cataract developing over a number of years. Cataracts caused by diseases are relatively rare: examples include diabetes, Wilson's disease and severe eczema. Drugs such as steroids and trauma induced by injury or radiation are other causes. Congenital cataracts are rare. Surgery is the only effective form of treatment.
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