A common issue faced during the aging process is a gradual decline of vision, which is often due to clouding of the lens inside the eye, known as a cataract. This lens is the same one that starts to stiffen in your 40s, requiring reading glasses or bifocals due to worsening near vision. Although symptoms of cataracts might be minimal at first, as time passes, it can greatly impact your vision if not addressed.
Since the change is gradual and mostly affects older adults, these symptoms are usually dismissed by many patients as just another symptom of growing older. However, cataracts is the leading cause of blindness in the world, so even the mildest of symptoms should be checked out. Numerous studies have also shown that patients who undergo cataract surgery live longer on average due to increased physical activity and engagement with their surroundings since they can see better. Cataract surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes in an outpatient setting, and the outcomes are excellent. Cataracts generally occur in both eyes, but sometimes one eye seems to be more affected than the other. Here are some things to look for that might indicate you have cataracts:
- Extreme Light Sensitivity
If you find yourself struggling to drive at night because of blinding glares from oncoming headlights, you likely have cataracts. Other types of cataracts can actually make daytime driving more challenging as well. Sensitivity to light is one of the earliest signs of cataracts and can hinder your lifestyle by making it difficult to see at night or in settings with harsh lighting.
- Cloudy or Decreased Vision
Cloudiness in your vision might go unnoticed at first, especially if it’s not directly over the pupil. However, as the cataract grows, the cloudiness can spread over the entire lens of the eye, greatly impacting the ability for you to see clearly. Have you ever put on a pair of foggy glasses? This is what vision can become with cataracts if not treated.
Severe cloudiness can be very dangerous when walking or driving and detrimental to your eyesight, so you should visit your ophthalmologist as soon as you notice any fogginess or cloudiness in your vision.
- Double Vision
Seeing double? Although double vision can indicate other health problems, such as diabetes, it can also be a sign of cataracts.
Double vision, also known as diplopia, can present as a repeated image of something within one eye, even when the other eye is closed. If you are experiencing this, you should make an appointment to get to the bottom of it before your vision worsens.
Cataracts can cause colors to appear faded. If you notice a decrease in the saturation of your surroundings, you are likely developing cataracts. After cataract surgery, many patients state that their color perception is tremendously improved when the yellow/brown cloudiness is removed from their lens.
- Frequent Prescription Changes for Glasses
Frequently changing the prescription of your glasses can indicate that you have cataracts. Many think that strengthening prescriptions with age is normal, but if it is happening rapidly, there’s a good chance that the cataract is evolving.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to address vision changes. Cataracts can be treated, often in less than 15 minutes. You should not miss out on life’s precious moments because of blurry vision, nor do you want to hurt yourself from a fall or accident because your vision is not as good as before.