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A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens inside the eye. Age-related cataract is the world's most frequent cause of curable blindness. However, cataracts can also be congenital due to injury or hereditary causes.

Three main types of lens opacity are described in age-related cataract: nuclear (the nucleus of the lens), cortical (cortex) and posterior subcapsular (the back for the membrane surrounding the lens). Although cortical cataract is probably the most frequent type, nuclear and posterior subcapsular cataracts (which primarily affect the optical axis of the eye lens) are the types of cataract that more frequently cause visual deterioration and prompt persons to seek surgical intervention.

Initial treatment often consists of stronger eyeglasses or contact lenses. Once a clouded lens develops, surgical removal is the only treatment. However, the decision to surgically remove cataracts should be based on the person's own perception of vision difficulties and need and the effect of vision loss on normal activity.

Cataract surgery has become one of the most frequently performed outpatient surgeries in North America with more than 1.2 million cataract surgical procedures each year.

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The Medifocus Guide on Cataract provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:

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