Cataracts usually form very slowly over years. They may cause mild to severe symptoms depending on its density and location. The symptoms vary from person to person and usually increase with time as the cataract becomes more dense.
Common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Blurred, hazy, or foggy vision
- Reduced colour perception – objects appear duller or darker
- Difficulty reading
- Increasing need for more light to see clearly
- Increased sensitivity to light, including sunlight
- A tendency to become more near-sighted because of the increasing density of the lens
- Frequent changes of prescription spectacles or contact lenses
- Difficulty with night vision including glare from oncoming headlights
- Double vision, even if only one eye is open
Most people who develop cataracts experience only some of these symptoms. It is important to realise that these symptoms do not necessarily indicate the presence of only a cataract and may be caused by other problems in the eye. A person experiencing these problems should have a complete eye examination, including dilating the pupil, to ensure a cataract is present. This is best done by an experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist who can fully assess the density and location of the cataract as well as any other coexisting pathology.
In the past, people with cataracts were told to wait until their cataracts were ‘ripe’ or ‘mature’. This meant living through years of slowly deteriorating vision before seeking help. With advances in modern microsurgical techniques, cataract surgery has far fewer complications and more rapid visual recovery than in the past. Cataract surgery is now generally performed when deteriorating vision interferes with a patient’s quality of life and they want to see more clearly.
For more information about cataract surgery please see the Cataract Surgery Options page. If you have any questions or concerns about your particular situation, please contact the office of Dr MacIntyre for a complete eye evaluation.