One of the inevitable side effects of aging is getting cataracts. Everyone will eventually develop age-related cataracts that affect their vision.
There’s no way to predict when cataracts will become a problem, but when they do, there is treatment to correct them. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts, including which age range cataracts are most common!
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding on the lens of your eye. The lens is a disc of clear tissue that sits behind the iris, which is the colored part of the eye.
When cataracts develop, the clouding blocks light from passing through the lens and causes blurry vision. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes.
They may start very small and not cause noticeable vision changes. As the clouding spreads, vision will become more blurry.
Most cataracts are age-related. You can also develop cataracts as a side effect of other health conditions such as diabetes, use of certain medications like steroids, or as the result of an injury to the eye.
What Age Will I Begin to Develop Cataracts?
There is no set age when cataracts start to develop. Most people who have age-related cataracts tend to develop them between the ages of forty and fifty, but cataracts can show up earlier or later.
If you have close family members who have developed age-related cataracts, you can ask them about their experience and when they were diagnosed. That may give you some idea of your own risk and when to start looking for symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms of Cataracts?
In the beginning stages, cataracts may not cause any symptoms. You may only know you have them after your eye doctor notices them during a routine eye exam.
Over time, the clouding on the lens may increase, and you may notice changes in your vision, such as:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Distortion of vision
- Double vision
- Feeling like lights are too bright
- Light appears to give off a glare or a halo
- Colors appear faded
- Poor night vision
- Increased nearsightedness
- Frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions
How Do I Know if I Have Cataracts?
Since many of the symptoms of cataracts can have other causes, you should see an eye doctor to confirm that you have cataracts. Your eye doctor will ask you about any symptoms, ask about a family history of cataracts, and perform an eye exam.
The exam will include tests of visual acuity. In addition, the ophthalmologist will use special eye drops to dilate your pupils.
This allows the eye doctor to see the inner parts of the eye, including spotting any cataracts that may be present. Since pupil dilation is part of routine eye exams, your eye doctor may notice cataracts before they cause any symptoms.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
If cataracts aren’t affecting your vision, there is nothing you need to do. Over time, the cataracts may cause minor vision changes that can be corrected with glasses or contacts.
Using a magnifying glass or brighter lighting for certain tasks may also help. For many people with advanced cataracts, cataract surgery is the best option.
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, and it’s very safe and effective. During cataract surgery, your eye doctor will give you eye drops to numb your eye.
You may also want medication to help you relax during the procedure. Using special instruments, your ophthalmologist will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear, artificial lens.
Most people experience a noticeable improvement in their vision after cataract surgery. However, for some, it may take a few days to weeks to witness the full potential of their new vision.
Are you experiencing symptoms you think may be related to cataracts? Schedule an appointment at EyeHealth Northwest in Portland, OR, today!