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PDF File Cataract Surgery Frequently Asked Questions . What is a cataract? A cataract is an opacification of the natural lens that causes blurry, cloudy , or distorted vision. The human lens is located just behind the iris, or the colored part of the eye. A healthy l ens is clear and flexible, allowing us to see focused images. As a part of the normal a ging process, the proteins in the lens oxidize, which leads to a loss of clarity and hardening. Left unt reated, a cataract can become so dense that it causes blindness and a white appearance to the pupil. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. The original meaning of “cataract” is “waterfall,” because the visual distortion of a cataract is similar to the view through a waterfall. There are multiple types of cataracts, and even within the sam e type, there are a range of symptoms a person can experience.