When you have cataracts, your vision will be cloudy and blurry.
Cataracts are the result of protein and fiber breakdown that causes proteins to build up and clump together, resulting in a clouded area of the eye lens. Because of this clouding on the lens, vision is fuzzy.
As cataracts progress, vision will become more clouded. This is because more of the lens becomes affected.
Cataracts inevitably get worse over time, and some forms of cataracts progress faster than others. Around the globe, cataracts remain among the top causes of blindness and vision problems.
What Vision Looks Like With Cataracts
In addition to the typical blurred and cloudy vision, there are additional vision issues that occur when a person develops cataracts.
Colors might appear faded for those who have cataracts. Individuals with cataracts might also find it difficult to drive at night due to poor vision as well as the appearance of halos around artificial lights, such as headlights and streetlights.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Most of the common and predominant symptoms of cataracts have to do with vision. It’s very rare that a person sees their cataract or feels its presence.
Cataracts result in the following symptoms:
- Faded colors (colors not appearing as bright as normal)
- Clouded vision
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Poor night vision
- Difficulty driving at night
- Light sensitivity
- Seeing halos around artificial lights
If you or someone you know have been exhibiting any symptoms listed above, it’s important to schedule an eye exam to determine whether or not you have a cataract.
Cataract Risk Factors
Risk factors that may increase a person’s chances of developing cataracts include smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, the natural aging process, overexposure to UV rays, a family history of having cataracts, and steroid use due to a medical condition, such as arthritis or skin disorders.
There are a few ways to potentially mitigate your risk for cataract development. These include eating healthy, avoiding smoking, wearing protection when out in the sun, and getting an eye exam with dilation once every one or two years after turning 60.
How to Know Vision Issues Are Being Caused by Cataracts
Many eye care centers offer cataract tests that individuals can perform at home, but many of these tests are just a series of simple questions aimed at determining if a patient is showing signs or symptoms related to having cataracts.
The only way to know for sure if you have cataracts is to see an eye doctor, who will perform a series of tests with special instruments to help provide a diagnosis.
What to Expect After Diagnosis
Once diagnosed, patients with cataracts can wear glasses or contacts that help to correct vision problems or undergo cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the patient’s natural lens is removed, and an artificial lens is implanted.
Cataract surgery is routine and done while the patient is under local anesthetic. The procedure only takes about 15 minutes, and patients generally experience vision improvement right away.
Recovery time is generally fast, and new implants are designed to last a person’s lifespan. Some patients may still have to wear glasses after cataract surgery. The goal is to restore vision to what it was before cataract formation rather than to correct all existing vision issues.
If you’ve been experiencing cataract symptoms, and your vision has been compromised in any way, it’s important to schedule a consultation with your eye care specialist. There are many options besides resigning yourself to poor vision. In many cases, only after finding a vision solution do patients truly realize how bad their vision was prior to the correction. For most people, cataract surgery solves their vision issues.
Cataracts. (August 2022). National Eye Institute.
Cataract: Advances in Surgery and Whether Surgery Remains the Only Treatment in Future. (November 2021). Advances in Ophthalmology Practice and Research.
Last Updated January 10, 2023
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