6 Telltale Signs You Have Cataracts
Learning you have cataracts doesn’t need to feel like a life sentence. In the past, cataracts meant eventual blindness. Now, modern science allows patients to remove cataracts by means of surgical procedures.
At Clearview Vision Institute, we serve patients across the Greater Toronto Area for several eye-related concerns, including cataracts. We often receive questions about symptoms of cataracts and how to know if it should be a concern. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 6 signs to watch for if you’re concerned about cataracts.
What are cataracts?
Before we discuss symptoms, it’s important to understand what cataracts are, how they impact your sight, and how they are treated.
Cataracts cloud the lens of your eye, which creates a frosty haze where vision should normally be clear. The only treatment for cataracts is eye surgery. There are a few different ways to do this, including:
Extracapsular Extraction: By creating a large incision in the lens, your eye doctor removes the cataract as a single layer from the eye tissue.
Phacoemulsification: Sound waves are used to break up the affected lens tissue into tiny pieces. The cataract is removed in small pieces by suction. An incision is still needed, but it is much smaller than the extracapsular extraction incision.
If left untreated, a cataract will worsen. You may notice your vision becoming increasingly impaired. This can limit everyday activities like driving or watching television. Cataracts usually lead to blindness if not surgically treated. How can you tell if you have cataracts? Here are 6 telltale signs:
1. Otherwise unexplained blurred vision
Blurry vision happens for many reasons, including obstructions in your eye. However, if you notice blurriness becoming an everyday norm, it could be related to cataracts. Cataracts occur when the cells in your eye’s lens begin to break down. As the proteins and fibres deteriorate, vision becomes increasingly hazy. This is why the lens needs to be removed to repair vision in the affected eye.
You can reduce the onset of cataracts by wearing sunglasses, reducing screen time and glare on your eyes, and avoiding bright lights. However, once the process begins, the only way to remove the damage completely is surgery.
2. Sensitivity to light
If you suddenly notice your eyes being overly sensitive to lights, it could be a sign that cataracts are developing. The lens of your eye is like a window, and it lets light in, which is then controlled by the iris. When your cornea is affected by a cataract, the lens tissue has begun to deteriorate. This damage makes it sensitive.
You may also notice your eyes are more sensitive to other everyday experiences, like the smoke from a candle or the water in your shower. Be careful to protect your eyes until your doctor has a chance to diagnose the problem.
3. Things begin to appear yellowed
Like a faded photograph, cataracts impact the way we see colour, washing it out. If you notice that objects and scenery that used to appear bright are dulled or yellowed, it could be related to the development of cataracts.
This is a difficult sign to detect at first because it happens very gradually. Don’t brush off any small changes that occur with your vision. Rather, write them down if you’re not sure they’re problematic yet. If it becomes a bigger issue, you then have a record of progression to show your doctor.
4. Streaks and halos
Have you ever noticed the way a foggy or dirty window causes light to appear blurry, streaky, or haloed? The same thing happens when cataracts begin to form in your eyes. The damaged lens changes the way light enters your eye, causing streaking from car lights and headlamps, and halos to appear.
If you notice light perception changing, be sure to speak to your doctor as soon as possible. This is a sign that cataracts are progressing to a point where there will soon be major vision change.
5. Nighttime vision deteriorates
Seeing in the dark gets harder and harder with age, but it becomes near to impossible with cataracts. This is because not enough light can get into your eye to let you see what’s in front of you. In the daytime, enough can sneak in around the damaged lens tissue to give you an idea of your surroundings. At night, this façade of wellness is harder to maintain.
6. More frequent need for eye prescription changes
Eyeglass prescriptions change more frequently with age, but you shouldn’t need to update your glasses more than once a year. Rather, once every two years if your eyes are healthy. If you notice the need to upgrade your prescription frequently, there could be something more serious at hand.
As cataracts develop and slowly blur your vision, you will need stronger prescriptions to keep up. Eventually, these prescriptions won’t work. As well, multiple prescription changes become costly, even with medical insurance.
Contact Clearview Vision Institute Today
Clearview Vision Institute is a leader in laser eye surgery here in Toronto. We work with patients for a variety of reasons, including vision correctness and cataract-removal surgery. Our team is here for you from beginning to end, ensuring you know everything from preparatory steps to recovery tips.
Interested in learning more about Clearview Vision Institute? We can help. Call us at 1-647-493-6371 or visit us online today for a consultation with our experienced team.