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Cataracts are clouding of the eye's natural lens. Cataracts can develop in ducks for a variety of reasons, however one of the more recent theories of cataract formation is that many cataracts are caused by oxidative changes in the duck's lens. Many recent studies have shown that eating a diet high in antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent certain types of cataracts.
Since the lens in a healthy duck's eye is clear like a camera lens, light has no problem passing through the lens to the back of the eye to the retina where images are processed. When a cataract is present, the light cannot get through the lens as easily and, as a result, vision is impaired, often resulting in blindness.