How Do Cataracts Impact Vision and Daily Life?

How Do Cataracts Impact Vision and Daily Life?

February 28th, 2024

Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision changes for older adults. They occur when the proteins inside the eye’s lens begin to break down and clump up, creating cloudy spots. 

Instead of the lens being perfectly clear, the cataracts limit the amount of light that the lens can focus on the retina. Cataracts can change your vision and eventually lead to significant vision loss. 

Keep reading to learn more about how cataracts impact your vision and daily life! 

What Are the Common Symptoms of Cataracts?

Most cataracts are age-related and develop slowly over a period of years. In the early stages, cataracts may not cause any symptoms at all. 

However, over time, they get larger and become discolored, which changes your vision. Common vision changes include:

Clouded, Blurred, or Dim Vision

Cataracts can make it seem like your vision is hazy or out of focus. You may feel like your vision has dimmed, even in daylight.

Need for Brighter Light for Reading and Other Activities

The protein clumps on the lens prevent all of the light that enters your eye from reaching the retina. This can mean you need brighter light to see text or other objects.

It can cause issues when you are in places with low light, such as restaurants, and it’s difficult to see a menu or your plate.

Trouble Seeing at Night

Reduced night vision is a common symptom of cataracts. Cataracts can become discolored, giving your vision a brown or yellowing tint. 

This can be particularly noticeable at night. You might find that you have trouble seeing in low light and find activities like driving at night are more difficult.

Fading or Yellowing of Colors

When cataracts form, the cloudiness and yellowing of the natural lens can affect how you perceive colors. Everything you see may look muted or have a yellowish hue. 

Seeing Halos or Starbursts Around Lights

Another symptom that affects night vision is seeing halos around lights. This can be particularly problematic when driving at night, as the halos around oncoming headlights or streetlamps may interfere with vision. 

Sensitivity to Light and Glare

Some cataracts, particularly those that form at the back of the lens, can increase sensitivity to light or glare. You may find yourself bothered by direct sunlight or the light from a computer screen.

Frequent Changes in Glasses or Contact Lens Prescription

The changes in your eye’s lens that cause difficulty focusing due to cataracts can make your glasses prescription change more often. Frequent changes to your glasses or contacts may be a sign that cataracts are progressing. 

Double Vision in One Eye

Cataracts can lead to distortions that cause double vision in one eye. However, double vision can also be a sign of serious health conditions such as concussion, brain tumor, or other conditions.

Please contact your eye doctor right away if you experience double vision. 

How Are Cataracts Treated?

In the early stages, you can manage cataract symptoms with increased lighting, glasses or contacts, and making lifestyle changes like avoiding driving at night. The only permanent solution to cataracts is cataract surgery. 

Your eye doctor can help you determine when you need to consider cataract surgery and what to expect when you have the procedure. In most cases, cataract surgery will be recommended when your cataract symptoms begin to interfere with your quality of life.

Do you want to learn more about cataracts and how to manage them? Schedule an appointment at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, AL, today!