A Guide to Identifying Cataract – Early Signs & Symptoms of Cataract

Cataract

Introduction

One of the leading causes of vision impairments in elderly people is a cataract. This painless, progressive clouding of the internal, natural lens of the eye blocks the light and makes seeing clearly difficult. A cataract is often related to older people, but sometimes, younger people are prone to develop this condition as well.

If left untreated, cataracts may lead to blindness over an extended period of time, thus necessitating early identification and appropriate treatment.

The Importance of Detecting and Treating Cataracts

Although cataracts are easy to identify and treat, the huge number of people affected by this eye condition makes it crucial to have a reliable system to detect this condition in the initial stage itself so that it can be checked regularly and the necessary treatment procedure can be followed to prevent vision loss.

According to studies, and from the statistics of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 24 million Americans above the age of 40 are affected by cataracts. A stunning half of all Americans above the age of 75 are found to have cataracts. This makes it all the more important to have a proper eye examination, make an accurate diagnosis, and plan the most optimal course of treatment to manage cataracts.

Cataracts – the Fundamentals

With ageing, the clear natural lenses in the human eyes begin to get hard, cloudy, and yellow. This opaque area of the eye over the lens is a cataract that blocks light rays from passing through the lens, thus making it difficult for you to see. While people may develop a cataract in one eye or both, there can only be one cataract per eye. Cataracts cannot spread among the eyes.

Cataracts are among the several eye conditions that might cause foggy or blurry vision, sensitivity to colour, trouble with night vision, and dimming of colours of lights. The disease of cataract occurs when the damaged proteins in one’s eye lens start clumping together, thus creating problems with the way light normally refracts onto the eye’s retina. This ultimately distorts the picture that one’s brain is processing. As we grow old, it is essential to look for Cataract Symptoms.

Cataracts are easy to diagnose as well as treat in the modern eye care environment. Surgery is recommended after one’s vision gets significantly obscured. This will occur only after years of the initial cataract diagnosis. Cataract Operation helps to restore the vision completely.

Early detection of cataract: what are the signs and symptoms?

For an early identification that facilitates the timely treatment of cataracts, people must have a fairly good idea about the common Cataract Symptoms. The following are a few of the most common Cataract Symptoms:

#1. Cloudy/blurry vision

A hazy or blurry vision is one of the most common symptoms of cataracts. You tend to develop a filmy, foggy, or cloudy vision. Over time, the cataract worsens, causing less light to reach the retina. Noticeable fuzzy spots appear in the field of vision of the person who suffers from cataracts. These are fairly small in the beginning but worsen with time.

#2. Seeing at night becomes difficult

Those suffering from cataracts will especially have a harder time seeing at night. The sufferer’s vision becomes dim or darker, and sometimes slight tinges of yellow or brown may be caused.  Such early changes may not be noticed during day time when sufficient light helps to compensate for the dimming or darkening vision, but they are more noticeable during night.

#3. Increased sensitivity to light

People who are suffering from cataract issues will experience increased discomfort with bright lights. Bright light makes them squint or even close their eyes. They tend to develop sudden headaches when faced with flashes of bright light. Driving at night becomes difficult as the brightness of headlights causes trouble to the eyes.

#4. Halos or glares around lights

For people with cataracts, the lens of the eye becomes hard and gets cloudy over a period of time. They may eventually notice glare and halos appearing in their field of vision. The light that passes through cataracts gets diffracted, thus leading to the formation of ringlets and glare around any source of bright light.

#5. Double vision

Those suffering from cataracts are prone to get double vision (also called diplopia) when looking with one eye. This double vision is different from that resulting from improper lining up of the eyes or other conditions. In the case of cataracts, even with one eye open, images might appear double.

#6. Yellowing of colours or colour changes

Cataract affects your colour vision. It makes certain hues to look faded. Your vision, when affected by cataracts, might gradually experience yellowish or brownish tinge. Initially mild, this discolouration will increase, and over time, it will become difficult to distinguish between blue and purple. This is caused by the protein clumps that cloud the eye lenses to turn brown or yellow.

#7. Frequent change of glasses

One of the signs of cataracts is the need to frequently change your eyeglasses or contact lenses. As cataracts are usually progressive, they tend to get worse with time. This necessitates a frequent change of glasses.

Common causes of cataracts

While the exact cause of cataract is not known its risk grows as one gets older. The following factors may contribute to cataract as well:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Eye injury
  • Excessive use of corticosteroids
  • Excessive exposure to radiation or sunlight

Causes of cataract

Diagnosis of Cataract

Almost all types of cataracts can be diagnosed with a proper eye examination. The vision test and eye study conducted by the eye doctor will detect the problems with the eye lens and other parts of your eyes.

Treatment of cataract

Cataracts will ultimately dim or cloud the lens of the eye to such an extent that performing daily tasks becomes difficult. It is the right time for surgery, which happens to be the final treatment method for cataracts. During surgery, the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced, restoring clear and sharp vision.

Cataract Laser Surgery is the latest in the surgical options to treat cataracts. Depending on the factors such as the procedure, surgeon, type of lens, and the location, Cataract Surgery Cost ranges between Rs.10,000/- and Rs.100,000/- per eye in India.

Treatment For Cataract

Wrap-up

A cataract is an eye condition that occurs frequently with elderly people. It is a condition that is easy to identify and treat. By following certain tips such as not smoking, keeping blood sugar at the right levels, limiting alcohol consumption, and protecting the eyes with proper eyewear. Cataract Operation is a simple and secure way to treat cataracts.

FAQ's Related to Cataract

Currently, there are many natural remedies doing the rounds for curing cataract, but none of them is entirely foolproof. At best, they help in alleviating the side symptoms of cataract. Surgical methods are currently the only effective way to cure cataract.

As of the present day, surgery remains the only effective solution for cataract treatment. However, there are other methods being researched, such as stem cell therapy to regrow lens tissue, as an alternative to surgery.

There are a number of factors that are known to reduce the possibility of cataract development. These are usually lifestyle changes, such as improving your diet, quitting smoking and drinking, and regularly going for checkups with your eye doctor.

Though the surgery is generally performed without anaesthesia, the process is almost entirely painless. The surgeon will administer a mild sedative to ensure that you are at ease, and will ask you if you are feeling comfortable throughout the process.

Cataracts are primarily classified based on how and where they develop in your eye. For example, a nuclear cataract occurs in the centre of the eye, while a traumatic cataract is the result of eye injury. Your eye doctor will inform you of the cause and type of cataract you have, with a clear diagnosis.

Once a cataract starts developing, most methods are geared towards alleviation of symptoms rather than a true reversal. Eye drops and other methods only slow down the development of cataract.

For cataract surgery, it is best if you choose a hospital that caters to all your needs before, during as well as after the surgery, and offers quality facilities in terms of surgery. Lotus Eye Hospital is one of the best eye care institutions that offer best-in-class treatment for eye problems.

Yes, diabetes can be a major factor in the development of cataract. Increased blood sugar leads to swelling of the lens, as it receives glucose supply from the body. This swelling, in turn, can manifest itself as cataract, if the blood sugar levels are left unchecked.

Need a Checkup?