Cataracts are extremely common, accounting for more than 20 million cases of blindness worldwide. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have cataracts or have had cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the more routine surgeries that an experienced ophthalmologist can perform. Even better, laser technology allows ophthalmologists to perform cataract surgery with greater accuracy and consistency than ever before, and laser cataract surgery is getting more and more popular as people learn about it.
Cataracts are painless and progressive, making them sometimes difficult to notice in the short and long term. As with other eye problems, people can get used to gradual changes in their vision and neglect treatment until the condition becomes debilitating. Therefore, it’s important to know what the early symptoms of cataracts are:
- Blurred, foggy, filmy, or cloudy vision
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural internal lens, so cloudy vision is the most common sign of cataracts. It can affect the viewer’s vision at any distance. What the person with cataracts is seeing here is the actual clouding of their eye’s natural internal lens.
- Dim vision
As cataracts worsen over time, less and less light is able to reach the retina. People afflicted with this condition may notice their vision becoming increasingly dim.
Increased glare in one’s vision is a common early symptom of cataracts. If you notice that headlights, sunlight, or other bright lights impair your ability to see clearly more than usual, it could be a sign of cataracts. In any case, this is a good reason to have a comprehensive medical eye exam.
- Double vision in one eye
This phenomenon can be caused by a failure of the eyes to line up properly, in which case the viewer would only see it with both eyes open. A number of things can cause double vision (also known as diplopia), but the double vision caused by cataracts is evident with only one eye open.
- Changes in color perception
Cataracts can make some colors look faded or less vibrant, sometimes leading to an overall brown or yellowish tint in one’s overall vision. This is more consequential than impeding your ability to enjoy color—many safety cues are communicated with colors, and people with color blindness may be unable to discern certain boundaries and messages. This can be extremely unsafe, so it’s important to know the status of your color perception.
Be sure to come back next month to learn about symptoms 6-10. If you’d like to schedule a comprehensive medical eye exam to check for cataracts or any other eye-health issues, or you’re interested in any of the many other services or products we offer, contact Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons today. Be sure to follow Dr. William Segal and Dr. Marc Lay on Facebook and Twitter for more eyecare information, fun facts, and the latest news and updates about eye health.