What Are Signs That Cataracts Are Developing? 

September 27, 2022

As the body ages, the eyes age right along with it. For people 40 years and older, the risk of developing cataracts increases with each passing year. Cataracts appear when the lens of your eye starts to become discolored, causing your vision to become cloudy. Read on as a Hackensack, NJ optometrist talks about cataracts, how they develop, who’s most at risk, and the importance of early treatment.  

How Do Cataracts Develop?

With aging comes a breakdown of the materials and structures that make up the eyes. The lens, which sits behind your iris or the colored part of the eye, focuses incoming light and directs it onto the retina. Cataracts are a condition where the lens becomes cloudy. 

Your eye consists mainly of protein and water, which is supposed to allow light to pass through the lens. As your eyes age, this protein-water mix can start to clump together and clouds the lens. As the lens becomes more cloudy, your vision becomes less clear. Aging can also cause the lens to harden, making it less flexible. This, too, can contribute to cloudy vision.

Cataracts tend to develop in both eyes, though not always at the same rate. This can create a difference in vision between the eyes. Usually, cataracts develop over time, though injury to the lens can also cause them. 

Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts to Watch for

Since cataracts usually develop gradually, it can be hard to spot symptoms during the early stages. In fact, it’s not uncommon for someone to adjust their lifestyle to accommodate the subtle changes in vision that occur. For these reasons, it helps to know the early signs and symptoms of cataracts. 

Here are a few to keep a lookout for:

  • Colors appear faded
  • Clouded, dim, or blurred vision
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Light and glare sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Blurriness 
  • Needing a brighter light for reading and other close-up activities
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription 

Cataract Risk Factors

  • Diabetics
  • People of African descent
  • People of Hispanic descent
  • Pre-existing eye conditions
  • Eye trauma
  • A family history of cataracts
  • Smokers
  • Drinkers 

Cataract Treatment

The severity and complexity of your condition will determine the type of cataract treatment you’ll require. First off, an optometrist will conduct a series of eye tests to assess the condition of your eyes. The types of tests administered may include:

  • Visual acuity test
  • Slit-lamp exams
  • Retinal evaluations

While surgical removal is the standard method for eliminating cataracts, other less-invasive forms of treatment may improve your vision if this condition is caught in the early stages. 

If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to call our Hackensack, NJ optometry office today. 

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