The Early Signs of Cataracts: When to Consult an Expert 

A common condition in older adults, cataracts affect over 24 million people in the United States; in fact, about half of all Americans will have cataracts by the age of 75, [1] although some may start developing cataracts that require surgery as early as their mid to late 50s. Cataracts can impede your daily life, causing progressive vision loss over time — vision loss that can only be corrected through surgery.

Since they develop gradually, catching the early signs of cataracts and undergoing cataract surgery has the potential to save you years of vision trouble; one of the most common things we hear from cataract patients is that they wish they would have had cataract surgery sooner! Read on to learn more about cataracts and their symptoms, and why it’s important to consult an expert if you think you have cataracts.

What Are Cataracts?

A “cataract” refers to the clouding of the eye’s natural crystalline lens. This typically occurs as part of the aging process. As the complex protein structure of the lens breaks down over time, it begins to stiffen and cloud, making vision blurry, hazy, and dull. Vision loss will eventually become more severe, even to the point of legal blindness.

Knowing the Symptoms of Cataracts

As cataracts develop, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

lights on while driving at night

Trouble Seeing in Low Light

If you have cataracts, you may notice that you need more light to complete everyday tasks or hobbies, like reading, writing, sewing, or knitting.

foggy lights on streets

Halos and Glare

You may also start to notice the appearance of glare in your vision, or rings of light known as halos. These can be especially noticeable at night.

blurry sight while walking at the park

Blurry or Cloudy Vision

One of the biggest indicators of a cataract is when your vision begins to blur. This can happen very slowly over time, but it will increase as the cataract develops and may not be noticeable at first.

blurred lights at night

Poor Night Vision

Due to halos and glare, you may find your night vision deteriorating. Driving at night may be particularly difficult, and the headlights from other vehicles may cause discomfort as well.

man drving a car with shining lights in front of him

Increased Sensitivity to Light

Another sign you may have cataracts is if you notice increased sensitivity to light. You may find yourself wearing sunglasses more often or feeling discomfort when exposed to bright sunlight.

faded color and color green at traffic light

Faded Color Vision

Cataracts may cause bright images to appear dull, tinted, or yellowed. They can also distort your vision and make you see double or see spots in your vision.

How Cataracts Are Treated

In their early stages of development, cataracts can be managed by making adjustments to your daily life, such as increasing the light in your home and avoiding driving at night. Wearing sunglasses or brimmed hats can also protect your eyes from further damage from the sun, which can worsen cataracts. And as always, it’s important to undergo annual eye exams to screen for the early warning signs of cataracts and other eye diseases, some of which may display no symptoms until permanent damage has been done to your vision.

Unlike those eye diseases, however, cataracts can be treated and vision restored, but only through surgery. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. The technology in these lenses has become so advanced that they have the potential to reduce dependence on glasses after surgery.

The good news is that cataract surgery can be performed at any stage of a cataract’s development, so you don’t have to wait until total or even partial vision loss occurs. That is why recognizing the early signs of cataracts and seeking treatment can help you avoid years of poor vision.

Expert Cataract Treatment at Buffalo Ophthalmology

Cataract surgery is one of the most delicate and common eye surgeries performed across the world, and this safe, outpatient procedure can drastically improve your quality of life. If you think you may be developing cataracts, contact Buffalo Ophthalmology today to schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons, or our lead surgeon, Dr. Deepan Selvadurai.

dr deepan selvadurai with his eye exam devices

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