The clouding of the eye lens known as “cataract” occurs when protein fibers in the lens break down and clump together. The clouded areas are small at first, but they gradually spread and become denser. Because cataracts scatter the light entering the eye, they prevent a sharp, focused image from reaching the retina. As a result, vision becomes increasingly blurred, and sensitivity to bright light and glare increases. Cataracts are painless and develop so gradually that a person may be unaware of any vision loss in its earlier stages. Thus, it’s imperative to undergo regular eye exams that screen for cataracts and, if necessary, wear corrective lenses that can counteract their vision-altering effects during the early stages of their formation. If you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts, follow your treatment plan. Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you'll be getting many vitamins and nutrients that can help reduce your risk. While people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision during middle age.