What Are The Signs of Cataracts?

Most people are aware of cataracts, largely because it’s an incredibly common condition. Over 24 million adults over the age of 39 have cataracts. By age 75, about half of all Americans end up with the condition.  

Cataracts are not considered a life-threatening condition. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a hazard. After all, they rob you of your vision, and that can be dangerous.  

By understanding the signs of cataracts, you can remain vigilant about your eye health. If you aren’t sure about the symptoms of cataracts, here is what you need to know.  

Common Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts  

Cataracts are a prevalent condition, often appearing as people age. They happen when tissues within the eye change, particularly as fibers and proteins in the lens start to break down. As the breaking down of materials begins to clump, they effectively cloud the lens, resulting in a range of vision-related changes.  

As with most medical conditions, a person with cataracts may have no symptoms, one symptom, or multiple symptoms. At times, the prevalence of the symptoms is associated with how advanced the condition is, though it may also depend on where cataracts form within the eye.  

Here are some of the most common signs of cataracts 

  • Clouded vision  
  • Light sensitivity  
  • Blurred vision  
  • Dim vision  
  • “Halos” around lights  
  • Fading colors  
  • Yellowing of colors  
  • Double vision in one eye  
  • Trouble with night driving  
  • Needing brighter light to read  
  • Sudden nearsightedness  
  • Frequent prescription changes for glasses  
  • Poor night vision  

In some cases, people with cataracts may also experience physical discomfort. However, the pain isn’t a symptom of cataracts themselves. Instead, it’s usually related to light sensitivity or struggling to overcome vision issues, such as frequent squinting leading to headaches or eye strain.  

The Progression of Cataract Symptoms  

In most cases, cataracts develop pretty slowly. During the early stages, your eyesight may not be notably impacted. Instead, you may simply get a glimpse of cloudiness here and there, if you experience anything at all.  

As the cataract grows, symptoms are usually more pronounced. There may be increasing amounts of cloudiness or light distortion, causing more pronounced vision issues. The more time that passes, the more noticeable symptoms become, potentially reaching a point where vision is dramatically impaired.  

When to See a Doctor About Cataract Signs  

Generally speaking, any change in your vision should be assessed by your eye doctor immediately. Some cataract symptoms are also associated with other eye conditions, including some that can cause significant and permanent damage to your vision. As a result, it’s best to consult with your eye doctor promptly. That way, they can determine the cause of your vision changes and decide which course of action – if any – is necessary.  

If the situation isn’t severe, your symptoms may be addressable with glasses or lighting changes. However, if they progress, cataract surgery might become necessary.  

Schedule Your Eye Exam For Cataract Screening 

At ECVA, we take the safety and health of our patients’ eyes seriously. If you have any signs or symptoms of cataracts, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

Fall Eye Care Tips

For many people, fall is their favorite time of year. The heat of the summer starts to fade, and the leaves start changing, introducing warm, vibrant colors to the world.  

While many people would assume that special eye care precautions aren’t necessary during the fall, that isn’t the case. If you want to make sure your eyes stay healthy, here are some fall eye care tips that can help.  

Wash Your Hands Regularly  

Many people wouldn’t think that hand washing has much to do with eye health. However, you’re less likely to contract certain infections, including conjunctivitis or pink eye, by keeping your hands clean.  

Plus, once the weather starts to turn colder, cold and flu season isn’t far behind. Since those viruses may enter the body through the eyes, washing your hands reduces your chances of catching them.  

The same goes for COVID-19. Evidence suggests that touching your eyes after contacting something that had the virus on it could cause you to fall ill.  

By washing your hands, incidentally contacting your eyes is less risky. As a result, you may be less likely to end up ill this fall.  

Prevent Dry Eye  

When outside temperatures fall, dry eye becomes more common. The outdoor air can sap moisture, and heaters inside homes, businesses, and vehicles can lead to drier conditions.  

In most cases, artificial tears are enough to keep you comfortable. However, if you have allergies or chronic dry eye, you may need something more robust. Speak to your eye doctor about your symptoms to see what’s right for you.  

Wear Sunglasses  

Since the days are shorter and cooler, many people put their sunglasses away. However, the sun produces harmful rays all year round. By wearing sunglasses with UV protection, you shield them from potential damage.  

Plus, sunglasses can help you see more clearly. You won’t have to squint in bright light, ensuring you can enjoy sunny afternoons outdoors with greater ease.  

Keep Safety Glasses on Hand  

Many fall activities can be potentially dangerous for your eyes. For example, raking leaves can increase the number of particles in the air. Without eye protection, the odds of an irritant getting into your eye go up.  

Additionally, many people begin preparing firewood in the winter. As your chopping, pieces of the log can break away, potentially striking you in the eye. There’s a barrier between you and flying debris by wearing eye protection, reducing your odds of a serious eye injury.  

Have an Eye-Friendly Halloween  

Halloween is a time for customs and fun. However, it should also be a time for eye health, ensuring you make smart choices that won’t harm your eyes.  

If you’re dressing up this Halloween and need heavy makeup to complete the look, make sure you buy the right type. Not all cosmetics are safe to use around the eye area, so look for versions that won’t cause irritation.  

If you’re thinking about wearing cosmetic contact lenses, be cautious. Most non-prescription decorative lenses won’t fit properly, increasing the odds that they’ll scratch your eye, cause an ulcer, or lead to an eye infection. In those cases, the damage can be significant, potentially resulting in permanent vision reduction or loss.  

For decorative lenses, don’t buy over-the-counter. Instead, head to your eye doctor for a high-quality, properly-fitted pair.  

Schedule Your Eye Exam  

If you haven’t had an eye exam this year, make fall eye health season by scheduling your appointment right away. That way, your eye doctor can check your eyes and vision to see if any issues need addressing.  

At ECVA, we take the safety and health of our patients’ eyes seriously. If you need an eye exam this fall, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.