Most of us don’t anticipate developing cataracts. However, because cataracts are the world’s leading cause of blindness and because more than 20 million Americans over age 40 have cataracts in one or both eyes, it’s important to be aware of cataract symptoms and to know that cataracts are treatable.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a painless, progressive cloud that forms over the eye’s natural lens and may form in one or both eyes. Because cataracts block light that is supposed to pass through the lens, cataracts make it difficult to see clearly and may even lead to blindness over time.
Although cataracts are typically associated with aging, cataracts can form at any stage of life, even in the womb. Common causes of cataracts include:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Trauma to the eyes
- Prolonged radiation or sun exposure
- Extended use of corticosteroids
- Infection, injury, or poor development in womb
Although the symptoms listed below may be symptoms of other medical issues, the following are common symptoms of cataracts:
Blurred or Clouded Vision
Blurry vision is the most common symptom of developing cataracts. Your vision might change from clear to blurry, cloudy, dim, or foggy. This is because a cataract is preventing light from passing through your lens. Because cataracts are progressive, your vision will gradually become more blurry, making activities such as driving and reading increasingly difficult.
Sensitivity to Bright Light
Sensitivity to bright light is another common cataract symptom. The glare caused by the sun, indoor lights, streetlights, and oncoming headlights can be irritating and even painful for those with cataracts.
Clouding of the lens can cause diffraction of light entering the eye, which may result in seeing a glare or “halo” around light sources. This makes driving at night difficult and very dangerous.
Occasionally, a cataract may temporarily act as a stronger lens and improve a person’s ability to see close-up. Don’t get too excited; this doesn’t last. As the cataract progresses, this improved vision goes away.
Change in Color Perception
As cataracts progress, they become a tint of brown or yellow. This causes some hues, primarily blues and purples, to look faded.
Rapid Change in Eyesight
Seemingly rapid changes in eyesight often make people think they need a new prescription. In reality, their vision may be getting worse due to cataracts. Going to your eye doctor to get a new prescription will help you catch the onset of cataracts; however, if you’re one to go to the drug store and purchase a new pair of reading glasses without seeing a doctor, you may not know that cataracts are the problem. If you’re noticing rapid changes in your vision, don’t waste your time or money, make an appointment to visit your eye doctor.
Although double vision is usually a result of one’s eyes not lining up properly, double vision, specifically diplopia, is a symptom of cataracts. Unlike typical double vision, which is only a problem when both eyes are open, diplopia takes root in one eye. This means that images are doubled whenever the affected eye is open.
See Your Doctor
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor right way. While cataracts are treatable, the symptoms listed above are also symptoms of more serious conditions, some of which are life-threatening.
If you have questions regarding cataracts or cataract treatment, visit our website or contact us. Modern cataract surgery is one of these safest forms of surgery and is extremely successful in restoring vision. Williamson Eye Institute is happy to discuss your vision options with you.
At Williamson Eye Institute, we are committed to preserving and protecting our patients’ eye health throughout their lives. To find out more, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.