What Are the First Signs of Cataracts?
November 13, 2023

What Are the First Signs of Cataracts?

Cataracts are the most commonly diagnosed eye condition among older adults. They occur when tiny parts of the eye’s structure break down and begin to clump on the clear lens of the eye. 

As these clumps build up, they block light from entering the retina, which is the part of the eye responsible for visual clarity. Since cataracts are so common, it can be good to know the signs of developing cataracts. 

Keep reading to learn what the first signs of cataracts are!

Cloudy Vision

Often the first sign that points to cataracts is cloudy vision. Many people say that clouded vision makes it feel as though they are constantly looking through a frosted or fogged-up window.

Blurred Vision

Blurry vision is another sign that can point to cataracts. You may notice that your near and distance vision is blurred even when wearing glasses or other corrective eyewear.

Increased Sensitivity to Bright Lights and Glare

If you are developing cataracts, you may start to be increasingly sensitive to both bright lights and glare. Things like headlights from oncoming cars, bright sunlight, and light reflected off the surface of the water can affect your ability to see clearly.

Difficulty Seeing in Low Light 

Cataracts can also make it difficult to see in dimly lit environments, like restaurants with low lighting or while driving at night. You may find that you need brighter sources of light to read or only feel comfortable driving in daylight.

Faded or Dulled Color Perception

Colors that appear less vivid or vibrant are a further sign of cataracts. It can become a challenge to see the difference between the hues of a single color or between colors that are similar.

Visual Halos

You might find that you are seeing halos around sources of light, especially at night. Halos can cause your vision to feel distorted and hazy.

Double Vision in One Eye

If you are experiencing double vision in just one of your eyes, a condition known as monocular diplopia, it could be a sign of cataracts. While cataracts generally impact both eyes, they can develop at different rates and show initial signs in just one of your eyes.

Frequent Changes in Vision Prescription

While occasional changes to your eye prescription are expected, with cataracts, you may find that you need to change your eye prescription more frequently to see clearly. This can be a sign of the advancing progression of cataracts.

Difficulty Reading Small Print

An increased difficulty in reading small print can be an early sign of cataracts. While this symptom is also the main sign of presbyopia or the natural aging of the eye, it can also point to cataracts, particularly when experienced with other signs.

Risk Factors for Cataracts

While everyone will develop cataracts at some point in their life, certain people may be at a higher risk for developing cataracts earlier in life. 

You may be more likely to develop cataracts if you have:

  • An underlying health condition, such as diabetes
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Are a smoker
  • Consume alcohol to excess
  • Have suffered a serious eye injury in the past
  • Have been exposed to UV light sources for a long time without protective eyewear

If you are at higher risk for developing cataracts, it is important to be on the lookout for the first signs of cataracts. Early diagnosis can lead to earlier treatment, which can optimize outcomes.

Do you think you might be experiencing cataract symptoms?

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Realizing that you are experiencing the first signs of cataracts can be very distressing. If your vision has started to become impaired by cataracts, you may worry that you could lose your eyesight altogether.

The reassuring news is that there are safe and effective treatments for cataracts. If you are in the earliest stages of cataracts, your eye care may suggest temporary solutions, like magnifying lenses or anti-glare sunglasses, which can help manage the symptoms of cataracts.

Ultimately, though, the only permanent way to treat cataracts is cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed eye surgeries, with high rates of success and patient satisfaction. 

During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye, which has been affected by cataracts, is removed using precise, innovative laser technology. The natural lens is then replaced with a clear, artificial intraocular lens, commonly called an IOL.

In addition to ridding the eyes of cataracts, there are other benefits to cataract surgery. While a standard IOL can improve vision at a single distance of your choosing, depending on your prescription, premium IOLs can improve or restore vision at two or more distances, reducing or even eliminating your need for corrective eyewear.

Cataracts usually develop slowly, and you may not begin to notice the signs of cataracts until they have started to impair your vision. The best ways to prevent cataracts from impacting your clear view of the world is by familiarizing yourself with the first signs, knowing your risk factors, and scheduling comprehensive eye exams with an experienced, knowledgeable eye care provider like Northeastern Eye Institute in Scranton, Pennsylvania, today!

Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Contact us today at 570-342-3145 to schedule a cataract evaluation at Northeastern Eye Institute in Scranton, PA, today!