Many people think cataracts are an eye problem affecting only older seniors, but that’s not true. While cataracts do become a lot more common as we get older, they can start forming much earlier. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that nearly 25 million Americans aged 40 and older have at least one cataract.
Cataracts happen when tiny proteins inside your eye’s clear lens start to clump together, preventing light from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of your eye. The only way to improve your vision is to have the cataract removed and replaced with an artificial lens, so you can continue to enjoy clear vision.
At Long Island Ophthalmic Concepts, our team is skilled in advanced cataract surgery techniques aimed at helping patients in Bellmore, Great Neck, and Huntington, New York, eliminate nagging vision problems and restore their eyesight. In this post, learn about five common vision symptoms that could mean you have cataracts.
1. Worsening vision
Because cataracts prevent light from reaching your retinas, it makes sense that vision changes are one of the first symptoms people notice. Some people complain of “dull” or “hazy” vision, especially when they’re trying to read or they’re outside in a sunny environment.
Blurry vision when driving or reading is a common early sign of cataracts. If you frequently update your prescription or read glasses, that’s an early sign, too.
2. Sensitivity to bright light
When your lens is clear, light that enters your eye travels straight to the retina at the back of your eye. But if you have a cataract, that path is blocked, and light becomes scattered.
As a result, bright lights may appear “glary” or even hurt your eyes. Many people notice excessive glare problems when driving or doing other outdoor activities, especially on sunny days.
3. Halos around lights
Seeing halos or bright circles of light around street lights or other lights is another common symptom associated with cataracts. Once again, this effect has to do with the clouding of the lens and the way light bends or refracts when it strikes the lens.
Halos can appear in different colors and varying shades of brightness. When you’re out driving, halos can interfere with your ability to see car headlights or tail lights, making it harder to drive safely.
4. “Faded-looking” colors
Your eyes depend on clear vision to see colors in their truest form. If the lens is clouded, it can be like trying to make out colors through a dirty window.
Sometimes, the lens takes on a yellowish tinge. In those instances, the colors you see may also take on a yellowish tint, almost like a sepia-tinted photo.
5. Double vision
Some people with cataracts have double vision, or diplopia, which means seeing two of the same object. Objects may be right next to each other, or one image may overlap the other.
Double vision happens when the clouded lens bends light in a way that causes your retina to detect two images instead of one. When double vision is due to cataracts, you may only experience the symptom in one eye.
Healthy eyes as you age
Although cataracts can occur in some younger people, they become much more common as we age. Regular eye exams are essential for maintaining healthy eyes and good vision as we age.
If you have cataracts or are experiencing any changes in your vision, don’t ignore them. Request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Long Island Ophthalmic Concepts today.