Is your vision blurry, foggy, or seems like it’s diminishing? These could be some of the signs of having cataracts.
Cataracts are a prevalent age-related eye condition. You may think that cataracts are something only the elderly can get, but that’s not entirely accurate.
Did you know that you can start developing cataracts as early as 40? Once you turn 40, your risk of developing cataracts starts to increase.
Cataracts can develop very slowly. It may take years or even decades for cataracts to develop fully.
That’s why it may be difficult to notice you have them at first. You should see an eye doctor every year or two once you turn 40.
When you develop cataracts, your eye doctor will be able to monitor and diagnose them. But you should also be aware of the signs of having a cataract so you can see your eye doctor outside your regular eye exams if needed.
Are you unsure what a cataract is or what the basics are when it comes to cataracts? Keep reading for 5 signs of cataracts and more information about what to expect if you have them!
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts form in the natural lens of your eye. Before cataracts, the natural lens is transparent and easy to see through.
But as you develop a cataract, it becomes cloudy, making it more challenging to see through. You can think of your lens as a window.
When you have a cataract, the window becomes dirty or foggy, impacting your vision. But unlike foggy glass, cataracts don’t simply go away on their own.
The only way to get rid of them is to remove the lens. Removing the natural lens is something you can only accomplish during cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is a procedure that removes the natural lens and then replaces it with an artificial one. Much of the cause of cataracts appear to be due to aging.
Cataracts are also associated with traumatic eye injuries, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and damage from UV rays. You can lower your risk for cataracts by leading a healthy lifestyle.
There’s no way to guarantee you’ll never develop cataracts, but leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce your chances of developing them earlier. You’ll likely still develop cataracts as a result of aging.
Here are a few common cataract symptoms and signs that you can watch out for:
1. Double Vision in One Eye
Also called monocular double vision, experiencing double vision in only one eye is a very early sign of cataracts that often appears before other symptoms. Seeing faint double images when one eye is closed could indicate that you have cataracts.
Be aware, however, that if you see double only when both of your eyes are open, this can be a sign of a serious neurological condition, and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
2. Blurry Vision
The most noticeable sign of cataracts is blurred vision. If you think back to seeing your natural lens as a window, you can imagine it’s difficult to see through foggy glass.
As a result, objects on the other side of the glass will appear blurry. Having blurry vision is what happens when you have cataracts.
In the early stages, stronger prescriptions may help correct your vision. But once your cataracts develop significantly, no prescription can correct your vision. The only way to restore your vision is through cataract surgery.
3. Poor Night Vision
It’s harder to see in low light when you have cataracts. This symptom is often mistaken for presbyopia, another condition common in adults over 40.
Many patients with cataracts may also have presbyopia to a certain degree. Presbyopia makes it harder to focus up close, so patients often struggle to read and do other fine-focus tasks.
If you have cataracts, it may seem like your inability to complete fine-focus tasks is simply due to a failure to see up close. But when you have cataracts, using direct light can help improve your vision significantly.
Improved vision with more light is a good sign that your issue with seeing up close is due to cataracts, as lack of light doesn’t have much effect on presbyopia.
4. Light Sensitivity and Glare
Cataracts can make your eyes more sensitive to light. They can also intensify glare from lights and make halos appear around bright lights.
These symptoms can make it very difficult to drive at night, especially when compounded with poor night vision. Glare from street lights and headlights in the dark can be blinding when you have advanced cataracts.
If you feel unsafe driving at night, it’s a good sign that you have cataracts. If you believe you may have cataracts, find a friend or family member that can drive you where you need to go at night until you can have cataract surgery to ensure everyone on the road is safe.
5. Poor Color Contrast
Cataracts can make colors appear more muted. You may have trouble distinguishing between similar colors or seeing objects against similarly colored backgrounds.
If your surroundings appear less vibrant and muddier, this can signify that you have cataracts, although it may be hard to notice at first. You may also start observing that colors have lost their vibrance and that colors that should be white now look brown.
When You Need Cataract Surgery
Cataracts can take years to develop. When they first form, you may not have any symptoms.
When you do develop symptoms, they may be mild at first. Cataract surgeons only recommend treatment when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life.
But once your cataracts are advanced enough to make your life more difficult, you should get cataract surgery as soon as possible. Cataract surgery can completely restore your vision and give your life back.
If you feel unsafe due to your cataracts because you have trouble driving at night or injured yourself because of impaired vision, that’s a sure sign it’s time for cataract surgery. But no matter how severe or mild your symptoms are, you should see an eye doctor to have your cataracts diagnosed.
Your eye doctor can help monitor their progress and recommend when surgery is appropriate. Aren’t you tired of looking at the world through a foggy window? Do something about it by scheduling a cataract consultation at Traverse City Ophthalmology in Traverse City, MI, today!