Eye Specialists of Westchester

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Optical (914) 235-8262


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A cataract is a loss of transparency, or clouding, of the normally clear lens of the eye. As one ages, chemical changes occur in the lens that make it less transparent. The loss of transparency may be so mild that vision is hardly affected or so severe that no shapes or movements are seen. When the lens gets cloudy enough to obstruct vision to any significant degree, it is called a cataract. Other symptoms of cataracts include: glare or light sensitivity; poor night vision; double vision in one eye; required brighter light for reading; and fading or yellowing of colors. Glasses or contact lenses cannot sharpen your vision if a cataract is present.


The most common cause of a cataract is aging. Other causes include trauma, medications such as steroids, systemic diseases such as diabetes, previous eye surgery and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.

Reducing the amount of ultraviolet light exposure by wearing a wide-brim hat and sunglasses may reduce your risk for developing a cataract. Once developed, there is no cure except to have the cataract surgically removed.

How quickly the cataract develops varies among individuals and may even be different between two eyes. Most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years. Other cataracts, especially in younger people and in people with diabetes, may progress rapidly over a short time. It is not possible to predict how fast cataracts will develop in any given person.


Surgery is the only way that a cataract can be removed. However, if symptoms of cataract are not bothering you very much, surgery may not be needed. Sometimes a simple change in your eyeglass prescription may be helpful. No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.

Dr. Scharf has performed thousands of cataract surgeries. Small incision, no-stitch cataract surgery provides patients with a rapid recovery and early visual rehabilitation. In most cases, eyedrops are used to provide a painless method of anesthesia for cataract surgery. With this type of procedure, no eye patch is necessary, and the patient can see immediately after surgery. The time to have the surgical procedure is when your vision is bad enough that it interferes with your lifestyle.

Cataract surgery is a very successful operation. One and a half million people have this procedure performed every year.