What are the Symptoms of Cataracts? 

by Oct 24, 2022

Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in the world and are responsible for more blindness than any other eye condition. Fortunately, there is a surgery available that can treat cataracts before there is lasting vision loss. An important part of achieving the best outcome from cataract surgery is noting the signs and symptoms of cataracts before the cataract is very severe. 


What is a Cataract?

A cataract occurs when the crystalline lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, hazy, or yellowed. 

As the lens changes colors, it will also become harder or stiffer. 

When the lens is healthy without a cataract, the lens is completely clear and has no color or opacities inside of it. 


What are the Types of Cataracts? 

There are three main types of cataracts that occur. 

The most common type are nuclear sclerotic cataracts. These cataracts are very slow growing and are usually associated with the normal aging process. Nuclear sclerotic cataracts cause a diffuse and dull yellowing of the lens. 

Another common type of cataract is a cortical cataract. These cataracts present as spokes or lines of haze on the lens. While cortical cataracts are associated with older age, they are less common and less prevalent than nuclear sclerotic cataracts. 

The least common of the three types of cataracts is a posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). These cataracts are usually associated with another cause besides aging. 

Causes of posterior subcapsular cataracts include long term steroid use, diabetes, and retinitis pigmentosa. 


Symptoms of Early Cataracts 

All types of cataracts will cause similar symptoms in the early stages

Symptoms include halos around lights, trouble seeing at night, blurred or hazy vision, and glare sensitivity. 


Halos Around Lights

Often the most problematic symptom with early cataracts is the formation of halos around lights. 

When viewing a light, such as a headlight or streetlight, the cataract will cause the light to scatter and create a halo around the light. 


Trouble Seeing at Night

Along with the halos around lights, cataracts will frequently cause issues with night vision. 

The reduction in light will increase the amount of scatter from the cataract and reduce the vision at night. 

Between the halos and trouble at night, driving in the dark can be very difficult for someone with cataracts. 


Blurred or Hazy Vision

When the cataract is forming, it creates a cloudiness on the natural lens. 

This cloudiness reduces vision by blocking some of the light from entering the eye. 

The more severe the cataract; the more impact it will have on vision. 

A bigger, denser cataract will reduce the vision more than an early cataract. 


Glare Sensitivity 

Glare is usually problematic for anyone, but for someone with cataracts, it can be much worse. 

Glare from things such as computer screens, phones, or even reflections from water can be very bothersome. 

This may be improved with sunglasses or tinted lenses but will likely continue to worsen as the cataract worsens. 


Treatment for Cataracts

The treatment for cataracts is surgery to remove the lens from the eye and replace it with an artificial lens. 

The new lens is completely clear and relieves the symptoms of the cataract. 


Our eye doctor at Brooklyn Eye Care excels in prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrist at (763) 999-6116 to schedule your appointment today if you have any questions or are having early signs of cataracts. Our eye doctor, Dr. Vivian Ekemezie provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in the Brooklyn Park, MN area.

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