Cataracts and Lens Disorders | Vision and Eye Health

Vision and Eye Health

Cataracts and Lens Disorders

UC Davis Health Eye Center specialists know your vision is vital to your quality of life. We use the latest surgical techniques for cataracts and other lens disorders.

Medically reviewed by Jeffrey Ma, M.D. on Aug. 31, 2023.

Female patient receiving an eye exam and a female provider sits beside her

Types of Lens Diseases

The lenses in your eyes play a role in focusing what you see into sharp images. A problem with your lens can cause blurry vision, cloudy vision or blindness.

Types of lens disorders include:

  • Aphaxia Aphakia: Missing lens.
  • Cataract: Cloudy lens, the most common lens disorder.
  • Ectopia lentis: Slipped lens.
  • Microspherophakia: Abnormally small lens.

At the UC Davis Health Eye Center, we use leading-edge technology for eye exams, diagnosis and treatment. We specialize in cataract removal and lens implants.


Symptoms of Cataracts and Lens Disorders

Symptoms of cataracts and lens disorders usually include a change in how you see.

Common Symptoms

You may experience:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Changes in your vision prescription
  • Double vision
  • Glare and starbursts around lights
  • Light sensitivity
  • Poor night vision
  • Trouble reading in dim lighting

Emergency Symptoms

Get medical care right away if you have:

  • Severe eye pain
  • Sudden change in vision

Causes of Cataracts

Different lens disorders have different causes. Certain factors raise your risk for developing lens disorders. Some of these factors are in your control, but others are not.

Cataracts are by far the most common lens condition we treat.


Trauma or injury to your eye can cause cataracts, aphakia or ectopia lentis.

Sun Exposure

Over time, ultraviolet (UV) light can damage proteins in your lens and lead to cataracts.


Prior eye surgery can increase your risk of developing cataracts.


Risk Factors for Lens Disorders

There are certain things that can increase your risk for lens disorders, including:


The risk of cataracts increases as you get older.

High Blood Sugar

Having diabetes or high blood sugar raises your risk of cataracts.


Medications such as steroids can increase the risk of cataracts.


Diagnosing Cataracts and Lens Disorders

Your eye care team will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your vision and different parts of your eyes.

Our comprehensive eye exams are extremely thorough and include the most advanced technology available.

Tests to check specifically for cataracts and lens disorders include:

  • Slit lamp exam: Your eye care specialist uses a special microscope with a light to examine your eyes' inner and outer structures.
  • Vision test: Your specialist asks you to read an eye chart with letters of different sizes. This helps show if you need glasses or an update to your prescription.

Learn about our optometry department and meet our team of eye care specialists

Treatments for Cataracts and Lens Disorders at UC Davis Health

Our eye specialists and vision researchers work together to provide you with leading-edge eye care.


Our ophthalmologists treat cataracts and lens disorders by replacing a cloudy, damaged or missing lens. We use advanced techniques such as no-injection, no-stitch cataract surgery and laser-assisted cataract surgery. We can combine cataract surgery with vision correction surgery.

One unique aspect of the UC Davis Health Eye Center is that we manage complex cataract surgery. These are cases in which the cataract has features that make it a more high-risk surgery, such as a mature cataract or a subluxated cataract. We also treat patients who have problems from prior cataract surgery, such as a dislocated (loose) intraocular lens implant. Also, many patients have coexisting ocular conditions that require other procedures done at the same time. We have specialists who perform cataract surgery combined with other surgeries to address glaucoma, corneal diseases and retinal diseases.

Learn more about comprehensive ophthalmology and cataract surgery

By 2050, an estimated

50MPeople will have a cataract diagnosis

Source: National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute Media Library: Infographics: Cataract: NEI Looks Ahead

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