Cataract Signs and Symptoms

Every day, you rely on your eye’s lens for everything from reading to driving to bird watching. The proteins within your lens may clump together with time, turning the lens milky. Certain activities can raise your chances of developing cataracts.

Overview Cataract

Cataracts are usually caused by aging or injury. However, other factors such as diabetes, smoking, and certain medications can also contribute to the development of cataracts. In most cases, cataracts are not painful and do not cause any symptoms until they begin to affect your vision. At that point, you may notice that your vision is blurry or that colors seem faded. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to complete blindness.

There are two main types of cataracts: nuclear cataracts and cortical cataracts. Nuclear cataracts form in the center of the lens and usually occur as a result of aging. Cortical cataracts form in the periphery of the lens and are often caused by diabetes or other health conditions.

If you think you may have a cataract, it is important to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

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Cataract Symptoms

As part of a dilated eye examination, an eye doctor can check for cataracts. The test is straightforward and painless: your doctor will administer some eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil and then examine your eyes for cataracts and other eye disorders.

Vision that’s cloudy, blurry, foggy or filmy

Cataracts develop slowly, and they may have little impact at first. -things might appear blurry, like looking at an impressionist painting.-This effect generally grows worse with time. The environment will seem hazy, blurred, or dim throughout the day. Colors might not seem as bright, and contrast may decrease. For instance, white objects might take on a yellow tinge. 

Blurry Vision
Cataract Symptom Increaded Sensitivity to Glare

Sensitivity to bright sunlight, lamps or headlights

As the lens of your eye becomes more opaque, you may find that bright light causes discomfort. You may also experience glare — light that scatters in your field of vision — making it more difficult to see. You may also find that you need to wear sunglasses more often, even on cloudy days. You may also notice that light from oncoming traffic seems excessively bright when you drive at night.

Poor night vision

As cataracts grow, they not only blur your vision but also can make seeing at night more difficult. You may see “halos” around light, have trouble judging distances and experience decreased contrast between colors. You may find yourself needing more light for reading and other close-up work.

Cataract Symptom Terrible Night Vision
Double Vision

Double vision or multiple images in one eye

In its early stages, a cataract may cause you to see “ghost” images. As the cataract matures, it can cause double vision. This symptom usually goes away when you close one eye. Diffraction from a cataract lens cloud can cause you to see two or more images of the same thing. This is especially apparent when looking at lights, as there will be multiple light sources instead of one.

Need for stronger light for reading and other activities

Some people with cataracts experience the need for brighter light for reading and other activities. This can occur because the cataract is affecting the eye’s ability to focus light. As a result, the person may need to use more light than usual to see clearly. Additionally, the person may find that their vision is more difficult to read in low light conditions, such as at night.

Cataract Symptom Double Vision
Trouble Seeing at Night

Changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription patterns

A cataract may cause a person to experience frequent changes in their eyeglass or contact lens prescription. This is because the cataract can change the way that light enters the eye, which can make it difficult for the person to see clearly. The changes in prescription may help the person to see more clearly, but they may also cause the person to experience other symptoms, such as headaches or eye fatigue.