Posted by: Associates in Ophthalmology (NJ) in Cataracts

As you age, the lenses in your eyes can begin to develop cloudy areas called cataracts. Cataracts can develop painlessly over many years and cause vision problems if left untreated. 

Knowing the early signs of cataracts can help you get timely treatment to preserve your sight. Keep reading to learn about the early signs of cataracts you shouldn’t ignore!

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts form when the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy and hardens, causing numerous visual symptoms. The lens focuses light onto the retina, so when it clouds over, the light cannot reach the retina as easily as when the lens is clear.

This makes images appear blurry or faded. Cataracts often form slowly without any symptoms at first. 

As they worsen over time, vision problems start to occur. Cataracts are extremely common, especially for people over sixty.

Since they typically develop with age, everyone will develop cataracts if they live long enough.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Cataracts?

In the early stages of cataract development, vision changes may be subtle. Symptoms tend to worsen gradually over months or years. 

Signs it may be time to have your eyes examined for cataracts include:

Blurry Vision

As cataracts develop, vision slowly becomes blurry, hazy, or fuzzy. Glasses may not help sharpen vision as much as they used to. 

Blurry vision is one of the most common early symptoms.

Difficulty Reading Fine Print

You may start having trouble reading small text in books, magazines, newspapers, or text messages as cataracts worsen. Reading glasses might help at first but become less effective over time.

Glare or Halos Around Lights

Seeing glare, streaks, halos, or starbursts around lamps, overhead lights, car headlights, or other light sources at night is another sign of early cataracts. Glare often gets worse as the cataract grows larger.

This is because the cloudy cataract causes light to scatter instead of traveling straight through the eye.

Frequently Changing Prescription

If your glasses or contact lens prescription keeps increasing in strength and your vision still seems blurry, developing cataracts may be the reason. It’s important to schedule regular eye exams so your eye doctor can monitor for early cataract changes.

How Do Eye Doctors Diagnose and Treat Cataracts?

A thorough eye exam is the only way your eye doctor can diagnose cataracts. Using special eye drops to dilate the pupils, your eye doctor will check for cloudy areas in the lens using a special microscope called a slit lamp.

They will also have you perform visual acuity and refraction tests to measure how well you can see details at various distances. Additionally, diagnostic tests determine if poor vision is caused by cataracts or other eye conditions like macular degeneration or astigmatism.

In the early stages of cataract development, when vision symptoms are still mild, prescription changes, brighter lighting, or anti-glare sunglasses may help correct functional vision problems without surgery. However, unfortunatley, cataracts have no medication or laser treatments to reverse them. 

The only way to effectively treat cataracts is with cataract surgery. As cataracts advance, blurry vision interferes with daily activities, and the only effective treatment is cataract surgery.

Today’s cataract surgery is a safe, quick outpatient procedure. The cloudy lens is removed through a tiny incision and replaced with a permanent artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant.

Some IOLs can even allow you to experience greater visual freedom than ever before. If you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts, it’s very important to visit your eye doctor at Associates in Ophthalmology to determine what is causing your symptoms.

Do you think you may be experiencing early signs of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Associates in Ophthalmology in Livingston, NJ, today to find out!