Our eyes are marvels of engineering, but over time, the mechanisms that power the process of sight can wear down. A common result of that breaking down is cataracts, a common vision problem that affects over 22 million people over 40.
Cataracts is a clouding of the lens of the eye, which sits behind the iris and the pupil. That clouding can result in a wide range of vision problems. If you experience any of the following problems, cataracts may be the culprit.
1. Blurry vision (even with an updated prescription)
A cataract will usually start small, and barely affect your vision. As it grows, though, the first symptom is typically cloudy vision. The cataract literally gets between you and what you’re trying to see, distorting a portion of your field of vision.
2. Glare and halos, especially when driving at night
As light enters your eye, a cataract will distort that light, causing glare and halos around the sources of the light. The effect can be especially pronounced at night. Because of the amount of light coming from other headlights, cataracts will often make it difficult to drive at night.
3. Difficulty reading fine print
A clouding of the lens means the entire field of vision is distorted, but reading fine print may be especially difficult. For large objects (or letters), you may still be able to process the outline of that object to make sense of what you’re seeing. Fine print is so small that there essentially are no outlines. All you’ll see is blurred text.
4. Muted and faded color vision
Color, and the way you process it, depends on the amount and quality of light that reaches your eye. The cloud on the eye lens caused by cataracts allows less light to reach your eye, and distorts the light that does. As a result, colors will become muted and faded.
5. Double vision
Double vision can occur in any eye that develops a cataract. It may actually improve as the cataract grows… so don’t be fooled into thinking that the problem is going away if your double vision starts to go away on its own.
There are other symptoms of cataracts, but the five listed above are among the most commonly reported. Cataracts are common and highly treatable, but the earlier they’re treated, the better the chance of restoring a crisp, clear view of the world. If you experience any of the above symptoms, find out whether custom cataract surgery is right for you.
ABOUT DR. BRIAN HAAS
Dr. Haas as has served on the teaching faculties of Bethesda Naval Hospital and the USF Medical School in Tampa. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at UCF Medical School in Orlando. From 1999 to 2009 Dr Haas served 5 consecutive terms as the department chairman of ophthalmology at Orlando Health. In 2012 he was selected by US News and World Report magazine as one of the top ophthalmologists in the country.
Read his full bio here.