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Cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness globally. Over the years, researchers have achieved significant progress in developing state-of-the-art machine learning techniques for automatic cataract classification and grading, aiming to prevent cataracts early and improve clinicians′ diagnosis efficiency. This survey provides a comprehensive survey of recent advances in machine learning techniques for cataract classification/grading based on ophthalmic images. We summarize existing literature from two research directions: conventional machine learning methods and deep learning methods. This survey also provides insights into existing works of both merits and limitations. In addition, we discuss several challenges of automatic cataract classification/grading based on machine learning techniques and present possible solutions to these challenges for future research.