The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that cataracts cause 51% of blindness in the world. If you have cataracts, it’s important that you get treatment as soon as you can.
Cataracts tend to develop slowly but can cause a lot of damage if you don’t get treatment for them. It’s important to watch out for early signs of the condition and to get a professional opinion about them.
In this guide, we’ll list the 5 early signs of cataracts and tell you what you can do about them.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of an eye’s lens. It occurs due to the buildup of proteins that have clumped together.
Having cloudy vision can be problematic. Cataracts can make simple tasks such as reading or driving a car much more difficult.
Cataracts tend to develop at a slow pace, so if you have them, you may notice them gradually. However, if left unchecked, cataracts can lead to total blindness. This is why it’s incredibly important that you take steps to identify the signs of cataracts as early on as possible.
Fortunately, the treatment for cataracts consists of a simple and common procedure that will usually take around 30 minutes to complete.
Early Signs of Cataracts
So what are the early signs and symptoms of cataracts? Here are the top 5 signs that you should look out for.
If you notice that it’s becoming harder and harder for you to see normally with your current glasses or contacts, then it could be a sign that there’s a problem.
Your vision could become increasingly blurry. With cataracts, you may discover that your eyesight is going through changes at a fast pace. You may need stronger glasses or contacts than you previously did.
As cataracts progress, you may start having double vision, seeing more than two images of a single object. This can make it incredibly difficult to see what you’re doing.
Double vision, also known as diplopia, could be a result of a variety of different conditions including a brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, or a stroke. However, in many cases, it can point to cataracts instead.
Regardless of the reason, it’s important to see an eye doctor to get to the bottom of the issue.
Another early warning sign to look for is discoloration in your vision.
If you have cataracts, protein can build up and cause your vision to start becoming yellow or brown-tinted. This can be similar to wearing certain pairs of sunglasses since your entire vision will be tinted and will take on a yellowish hue.
Once you start noticing this symptom, it may become more difficult for you to differentiate between different colors. Fortunately, getting corrective cataract surgery can help to eliminate this problem and help you see things clearly again.
Poor Night Vision
Although you may begin to see a yellowish or brownish hue to your vision in the daytime as well, for many people, it’s most noticeable at night.
If you’ve had a harder time seeing at night recently or have had trouble driving, then you might have cataracts. In the early stages of cataracts, you may begin to see halos and glare when looking at bright lights by the road at night.
If you suspect that you may have cataracts, then you’ll want to deal with the problem as soon as you can. You should also avoid driving at night if your vision isn’t working as it should.
Sensitivity to Light
Aside from seeing halos and glare around lights at night, bright lights can generally be painful to see when you have cataracts. Light sensitivity is a sign of cataracts and can be difficult to deal with. It can also affect your ability to drive at night and can cause headaches.
With posterior subcapsular cataracts, cataracts that are to the back of your lens, bright light can be especially painful. These cataracts can block the path of light to your retina and can make you feel extremely sensitive to bright lights.
How to Slow Down Cataract Growth
Although it’s important to get cataract surgery if you have cataracts, there are ways to slow down their progression. Various lifestyle changes and habits can help prevent cataracts from growing and can slow down the onset of symptoms.
Here are some of the things that you can do to inhibit the growth of cataracts:
- Avoid UV rays and wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses with polarized lenses when outside
- Avoid harmful habits such as drinking and smoking
- Eat a healthy diet that consists of whole grains, dark leafy greens, fruit, and omega-3 fatty acids
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get a complete eye exam on a regular basis to look for problems or irregularities
It’s important to take care of yourself to prevent the growth of cataracts. Remember that you should be paying attention to your overall health and well-being since harmful habits, and bad nutrition can affect your eyes as well.
Making the Decision to Get Cataract Surgery
Although you can slow the progression of cataracts somewhat, surgery is the only permanent cataracts treatment that’s available.
If cataracts are negatively affecting your everyday life and routine, then it might be necessary to restore your vision with the help of cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, a clouded lens will be replaced with an artificial one.
Fortunately, cataract surgery is a common eye procedure and is considered to be very safe and effective. In its entirety, cataract surgery should take about 30 minutes. Then, your vision will immediately return to normal.
After the surgery, you’ll likely feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days. It may take 1-2 months to experience complete healing and to fully recover from the surgery.
Understanding What to Do About Cataracts
If you want to avoid serious issues such as blindness, it’s important that you look out for the early signs of cataracts. Double vision, discolored vision, and sensitivity to bright lights are some of the things that you should be sure to take note of.
Do you need an eye exam? Make an appointment with Eye Pros today.