You can expect specific vision changes as you get older. Most adults require reading glasses in their late 40s and 50s, and nearly half of the population will develop cataracts by age 75. While you can quickly adapt to needing reading glasses because of the natural loss of near vision that comes with age, living with cataracts becomes increasingly tricky until this eye disease robs you of your eyesight completely.
Cataracts may develop in one eye at a time or simultaneously. Here the eye care specialists at Austin Eye explain some of the symptoms that may indicate you have untreated cataracts — and how cataract surgery can help.
Cataracts form when the proteins in the lens of your eye start to clump up. At first, these spots will cause light sensitivity. You might see halos around the headlights of oncoming cars when you drive at night or the lights in your home or office. That may impact your ability to drive in the dark because of the glare and will worsen as cataracts grow because less light reaches your retina.
Blurry, Cloudy Vision
As the cataracts progress, those white clumps of protein collect. Your eye lens will take on a cloudy look, which reduces your field of vision. You will notice a hazy blur around objects in the distance, and your overall eyesight may take on a foggy or filmy appearance.
Worsening Color Vision
Cataracts have a muted effect on your vision. The clouded lens can create a yellow or brown tint that produces a faded appearance on everything in sight. The discoloration may be subtle at first, and the other vision changes will make this hue change the least of your worries. People who have cataract surgery report seeing a brighter, more colorful world.
Double vision is another symptom of cataracts that typically happens in the early stages. These duplicate, layered images don’t go away when you close one eye. The light coming into your eye can’t focus on the retina due to the cloudy lens, causing the light to scatter and create double vision in the cataractous eye.
Tips for Living with Cataracts
Untreated cataracts will continue to clump together until they fill the entire lens and field of vision, causing total blindness.
Our eye care specialists have a few tips to help you in your day-to-day life with cataracts, including:
- Drive extra carefully at night and avoid it if possible.
- Ask friends and family for help with household tasks while you adapt to less visual acuity.
- Schedule regular comprehensive eye exams to diagnose and address cataracts and other vision problems before they cause significant impairment.
- Live a healthy lifestyle — a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants may slow the progression of cataracts.
Of course, the good news is that cataracts are curable through cataract surgery. The procedure removes the foggy eye lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Premium IOLs can correct common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia (near vision loss due to age). While cataracts can be treated in the early stages effectively, some people wait until they’re quite advanced to have cataract surgery.
Schedule an Eye Exam at Austin Eye
Never ignore vision changes as they are often warning signs of eye disease. Contact Austin Eye to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today at (512) 250-2020.