Since cataracts develop gradually, most people will not be told they need cataract surgery right away after being diagnosed. Typically, cataract surgery is recommended when your daily activities are affected by your reduced vision.
If you have difficulty performing normal tasks, or you’re finding that your enjoyment of life is compromised, it may be time for cataract surgery. Keep reading to learn more about how to know when it’s time for cataract surgery!
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop in the natural lens of your eye as you age. During cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon removes this cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial one to restore vision.
Since cataracts are a natural part of the aging process within the eye, everyone will develop them eventually.
What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
If you experience the following symptoms, you may be developing cataracts.
Blurry vision is one of the most common early symptoms of cataracts. This blurriness can show up in a few different ways:
- You may notice cloudy or hazy spots in your field of vision, almost like looking through foggy glass. These blurred patches often start small but gradually expand.
- You might struggle to see things clearly at a distance after reading or doing close-up work. When you look up from a book or computer screen, distant objects can appear unfocused or fuzzy.
- Overall clarity may decrease, so things at any distance look less sharp and detailed than they used to. It’s as if someone turned down the resolution on your eyesight.
This increasing lack of focus is caused by the cloudy cataract partially blocking light from entering your eye and disrupting your ability to see sharply. If blurry vision is getting in the way of your daily activities, be sure to discuss it with your eye doctor.
As cataracts worsen, you may notice double vision or see overlapping ghost-like images. This can occur when reading text, watching screens, or doing tasks requiring focus.
One eye’s vision often becomes weaker than the other. To avoid the doubling effect, you may unconsciously begin closing or covering your weaker eye.
But this doubling is a sign cataracts are disrupting sharp focus. If persistent, discuss treatment options with your eye doctor.
Glare and Light Sensitivity
Cataracts can cause increased glare and light sensitivity, especially at night. Oncoming headlights while driving may create a blinding glare or rainbow haloes, making it hard to see clearly again.
The edges of streetlamps often flare into starbursts instead of sharp lines. Entering daylight after being in the dark may be more jarring.
Overall, bright lights at night tend to create more glare and reflections rather than illuminating your vision. Coping with disabling glare is a clue cataracts may be advancing.
Difficulty Seeing in Dim Lighting
As cataracts progress, you may notice increasing difficulty seeing in dim lighting. Tasks like reading a menu in a dark restaurant or making out a book’s words in a shadowy room become challenging without added light.
You might need to use your phone’s flashlight just to see clearly. Cataracts prevent your eyes from adjusting well to low light levels.
If you’re relying on bright direct lighting more often, it could signify cataracts are reducing your ability to see in dim conditions.
The world may not look as bright as you remember. Colors appear faded, or everything has a yellowish tint.
Quality of Life Matters
While you may adapt to some mild vision changes from cataracts, pay attention if they start impacting your quality of life. Ask yourself – are cataracts preventing you from fully participating in activities you enjoy?
Are you less independent in your daily routines or avoiding certain tasks? Have mishaps or frustrations from blurry vision become more common?
If cataracts are noticeably reducing your ability to live life to the fullest, it’s time to discuss surgery options with your eye doctor.
Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at EyeHealth Northwest in Portland, OR, today!