How can I tell I have cataracts?

First of all, what is a cataract and who develops them? A cataract refers to cloudy opacities developing in the natural lens in our eyes. Everyone develops cataracts beyond 50 years of age. Some patients develop them at younger adult ages from extreme nearsightedness, eye diseases, eye surgery, certain eye medications and some systemic medications.

In most cases, patients will not have significant symptoms during their early development. As they progress, cataracts typically cause increasing nearsightedness even with glasses or contacts. For example, patients will notice they cannot follow the golf ball as far as they could,, they have to drive closer to street signs to discern them, or they cannot any longer make out the small letters on the television monitor. These symptoms worsen at night or in a dark room.

Increasing glare is another common symptom. Patients often avoid driving at night due to the blinding glare off headlights or streetlights. In room light, patients may see well. However, when sunlight is added, visual details can become much more challenging due to increased glare. any times, color perception becomes impaired, typically going unnoticed by patients. Cataracts also tend to filter out blue hues, making it difficult to discern black from navy blue for example. This tendency makes whites have an abnormally yellow tinge. Since many patients develop cataracts slowly over years and equally between the two eyes, patients will be unaware of the abnormal color perception.

If you are over age 50 and have some of these symptoms, then possibly you are developing visually significant cataracts and are missing out on enjoyable activities. A complete history and eye examination is the only way to determine whether or not cataracts are present and inhibiting your vision.

If you have concerns, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

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