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A cataract is a common condition that causes a clouding of the eye's natural lens, and affects millions of people each year, including more than half of all Americans over the age of 65. Cloudiness develops as a result of a buildup of protein in the lens.
In addition to age, there are a number of known risk factors that contribute to the development of cataracts. These include family health history, diabetes, eye injuries, chronic internal eye inflammation, certain drugs such as cortisone, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight, toxins in cigarette smoke and alcohol, and a dietary deficiency of Vitamin E.
Thanks to medical and surgical advancements in recent years, cataract surgery has become one of the gentlest and most successful medical procedures performed today. Modern cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under local or eye drop anesthesia and minimal sedation. The procedure typically takes less than thirty minutes.