Cataracts are a very common effect of aging. While there is evidence to suggest that some controllable factors such as diabetes and smoking may increase the likelihood of cataracts, many people contract them simply as a result of their age. There is no known correlation between cataracts and eyeglasses. Cataracts are as common amongst people who wear prescription glasses as those who don’t.
But the good news is that cataracts are usually treatable. In this post, we will go over the common signs of cataracts and how to go about dealing with them.
At what age do cataracts occur?
Cataracts are most common once you pass middle age, but they can occur at any age. Even babies can have cataracts. Cataracts are caused by protein in the lens of the eye clumping together and blurring or obscuring vision. This can happen as a result of natural wear and tear on the eye over the years or can be exacerbated by conditions like diabetes or heavy smoking.
Signs of cataracts
Cataracts typically come on slowly and continue to progress. For most people, cataracts begin during their 40’s or 50’s but do not affect vision until years later. Cataracts can present with many symptoms, most of which are very general and can signal different health problems.
- Blurry or cloudy vision patches
This is a common sign of cataracts. Vision may become blurry or “cloudy” and seem as though you are looking at the world through a slight haze. It is at this point that most people opt for cataract treatment.
- Muted colors
Another, slightly earlier sign of cataracts may be dull colors. If you seem to struggle to notice high contrasts, it may be a sign of cataracts.
- Double vision
Seeing double vision or multiple images is a rarer symptom, but it still can occur and usually diminishes as cataracts grow larger.
- Low night visibility
Cataracts often obstruct night vision.
Along with fading night vision, bright halos may form around headlights, streetlights, or other nighttime lights.
- Prescription changes
Your prescription should not change wildly during your adult life. There is typically some farsightedness that occurs with age, but other significant changes can be a symptom of cataracts or something worse.
How to treat cataracts
The first step towards treating cataracts is getting a diagnosis. Your eye doctor will be able to say with certainty whether your vision problems are the result of cataracts or something else. This is an important diagnosis to get because while cataracts are not a very time-sensitive condition, other vision problems are. Never assume your vision problems are cataracts. Always get a diagnosis.
After a diagnosis, cataracts can be managed or removed via surgery. If cataracts are mild, then something as simple as new eyeglasses or anti-glare sunglasses may be enough to mitigate any issues. (You can even get prescription anti-glare sunglasses to kill two birds with one stone.) If cataracts begin to severely affect vision, the next step is cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is a very common procedure and is generally regarded as safe and effective. Most people regain most or all of their vision after cataract surgery. What cataract surgery entails is removing the clouded lens of your eye and replacing it with a new one. Cataract surgery is not time-sensitive, meaning there is no medical risk associated with waiting to have the procedure. How long you wait to get cataract surgery will not affect the effectiveness of the procedure.
Whether or not you choose cataract surgery is a personal decision that your doctor will be able to give you advice on. Normally, the deciding factor is the patient’s quality of vision, but sometimes minor cataracts may need to be removed when there are other eye problems present. For example, even small cataracts may inhibit an eye doctor’s ability to properly monitor a condition like diabetic retinopathy.
Keep up with yearly eye exams
It’s important to keep up with your annual eye exams, especially if you are approaching an age where cataracts may become an issue for you. Your eye doctor may notice signs of declining vision health before you do, and the earlier a problem is detected, the more successful treatment will be. If you do develop cataracts, your eye doctor will be able to advise you on the best time to get cataract surgery.
Your eye doctor will also be able to give you updated prescriptions, which will allow you to purchase your eyeglasses and contact lenses online at better prices. 39DollarGlasses.com can fill any prescription with the perfect frames for a fraction of what you’d pay at the optometrist’s office.