Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend’s face.
Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
1. Clouded, blurred or dim vision
2. Increasing difficulty with vision at night
3. Sensitivity to light and glare
4. Seeing “halos” around lights
5. Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
6. Fading or yellowing of colors
7. Double vision in a single eye
At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to signs and symptoms you’re more likely to notice.
Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye’s lens. Some cataracts are related to inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems and increase your risk of cataracts. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, medical conditions such as diabetes, trauma or past eye surgery. Long-term use of steroid medications, too, can cause cataracts to develop.
Treatments And Drugs
The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery.
When to consider cataract surgery
Talk with your eye doctor about whether surgery is right for you. Most eye doctors suggest considering cataract surgery when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life or interfere with your ability to perform normal daily activities, such as reading or driving at night.
It’s up to you and your doctor to decide when cataract surgery is right for you. For most people, there is no rush to remove cataracts because they usually don’t harm the eye.
Delaying the procedure won’t make it more likely that you won’t recover your vision if you later decide to have cataract surgery. Take time to consider the benefits and risks of cataract surgery with your doctor.
If you choose not to undergo cataract surgery now, your eye doctor may recommend periodic follow-up exams to see if your cataracts are progressing. How often you’ll see your eye doctor depends on your situation.
No studies have proved how to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts. However, doctors think several strategies may be helpful, including:
1. Have regular eye examinations. Eye examinations can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Ask your doctor how often you should have an eye examination.
2. Quit smoking. Ask your doctor for suggestions about how to stop smoking. Medications, counseling and other strategies are available to help you.
3. Reduce alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk of cataracts.
4. Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to the development of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays when you’re outdoors.
5. Manage other health problems. Follow your treatment plan if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts.
6. Maintain a healthy weight. If you currently have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you’re overweight or obese, work to lose weight slowly by reducing your calorie intake and increasing the amount of exercise you get each day.
7. Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you’re getting many vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have many antioxidants, which help maintain the health of your eyes.