WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF CATARACTS?
If you have cataracts, you'll start to notice a few key symptoms. Keep in mind that most will worsen as the cataract grows and compromises your vision more.
- Blurry, clouded, faded, or dim vision
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Problems seeing at night or in dim light
- Issues perceiving colors such as blues and purples
- Halos around lights and lamps
- Rapidly changing glasses prescriptions
- Double vision in one eye
ARE ALL CATARACTS THE SAME?
Not all cataracts are the same. In fact, doctors have identified four main types of cataracts.
- Nuclear cataracts: These affect the center of the lens, first causing nearsightedness, then creating a yellow film, and finally clouding your vision.
- Cortical cataracts: These start at the edges of the lens, first creating white streaks that eventually affect the center of your vision.
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts: These start at the back of the lens, quickly compromising your reading vision and your ability to handle bright lights.
- Congenital cataracts: These are cataracts you're born with or develop as a child.
WHO IS AT GREATEST RISK OF DEVELOPING CATARACTS?
Because age is one of the greatest risk factors for cataracts, the elderly are prone to developing this eye condition. Some researchers also believe that smoking and diabetes cause cataracts. Obesity, high blood pressure, and excessive alcohol use are also risk factors. In addition, genetic disorders, extensive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, and use of some steroid medications can lead to this condition.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF I HAVE CATARACTS?
To determine whether you have cataracts, you'll need to take one or more tests. Many eye doctors start with a visual acuity test, which assesses how well each eye can read. Ophthalmologists also use a slit-lamp examination to get a better look at the lens and other components inside your eye. Finally, a retinal exam enables eye doctors to see abnormalities in your retina and lens.
Cataracts can range from major to minor, and some can significantly degrade your quality of life. If you have concerns, contact your eye doctor to learn more about how this condition might affect you.