Cataracts describe a clouding over of the naturally clear lens of the eye. Cataracts develop when proteins cluster together and obstruct the lens. Cataracts are progressive, so initially they may not cause any symptoms, but as they worsen, vision becomes compromised.
Cataract surgery breaks up and removes an affected lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens. Most cataract patients require cataract surgery at some point, but with early diagnosis, treatment can preserve vision for quite some time. Here, optometrists from GW Eye Associates, serving La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and San Diego, CA, discuss cataract symptoms that should prompt people to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to rule out or diagnose cataracts.
Cloudy or Blurred Vision
Cataracts basically create a film over the lens of the eye, which makes it difficult to see clearly. It can be like looking through a window that is covered with dust or fog instead of one that is clean and clear. Initially cataracts only cover a portion of the eye, so people may not notice any changes in the vision. However, as cataracts grow larger, parts of the field of vision (or the entire field of vision) will appear cloudy or blurry.
Difficulty With Night Vision
Many people who suffer from cataracts start to have difficulty with their night vision, often before they even notice any changes in their daytime vision. The most common issue is the presence of glares or halos around sources of light. These starburst-like glares obstruct the field of vision and can be very distracting.
Sensitivity to Light
Increased sensitivity to light is another potential symptom of cataracts. Light may seem brighter or more intense. Exposure to bright lights and sunlight can cause the eyes to tear excessively. Some people even experience pain when they are around sources of light.
Frequent Changes in Prescription Lenses
As previously mentioned, cataracts are a progressive eye disease, which means that if they are not treated, they continue to worsen over time. As cataracts progress, people are likely to find that their prescription lenses are no longer effective. If people frequently require a stronger vision prescription, it may be a sign of an underlying condition, like cataracts. Frequent prescription changes should be of particular concern to those who have had a steady eye prescription for an extended period of time.
Fading of Colors
Although this symptom may not be immediately obvious, many people who suffer from cataracts report that colors no longer seem as bright or defined. If colors appear to be fading, or if they seem to take on more of a yellowish tint, that should be reported to an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Cataracts interfere with light as it enters the eye. Depending on the size and location of a cataract, it can scatter light particles, resulting in double vision. Double vision should only affect the eye where the cataract developed.
Contact Our Office
With early diagnosis and treatment, cataracts can be managed so that the vision is not further compromised. If you are experiencing any potential symptoms of cataracts, we invite you to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at GW Eye Associates. To get started, contact our office online, or call us at (858) 454-4699.