A cataract is a clouding of the lens that normally occurs due to advancing age. A young, healthy lens is clear and flexible which allows it to focus images onto the retina. But starting around the age of 40, the lens begins to yellow and harden.
Cataracts start small but gradually worsen. Their effects on a person’s vision become more noticeable and debilitating over time as they mature. Eventually, an untreated cataract can cause significant vision loss and even total blindness.
Early signs of cataracts include the following:
- Blurry, dim or clouded vision (like looking out of a cloudy or streaked window)
- Sensitivity to light
- Glare from the sun or lights
- Poor night vision
- Double vision in one eye
- Colors that look dull or faded
- Need for brighter light for reading or similar activities
- Frequently changing glasses prescription
Cataracts do not cause pain, tearing, redness or floaters. At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms.
At first stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, due to the advancements in cataract surgery, a patient may have a cataract lens removed before it reaches an advanced stage. Cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
If you are experiencing any of the early signs of cataracts, contact Westlake Eye Specialists at 512-472-4011 or westlakeeyes.com to schedule an appointment in Austin today.