What Are the Most Common Cataract Symptoms?

Cataracts are a very common age-related eye condition. If you’re over forty, you’re at risk for cataracts. 

Cataracts occur when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy. This cloudiness can make it difficult to see. 

Cataracts also tend to develop over a long period of time. You may have cataracts for years without ever noticing them.

It can be challenging to spot cataract symptoms at first because they tend to appear gradually. The best way to know if you have cataracts is to see your eye doctor regularly so they can diagnose them as soon as they begin to develop. 

Keep reading to learn the most common cataract symptoms!

Double Vision in One Eye

Seeing double in just one eye, also called monocular double vision, is a very early sign that you may have cataracts. This symptom often appears before all other symptoms and can indicate that you may develop cataracts. 

If you experience monocular double vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor so they can examine you for cataracts. Double vision can be a symptom of other eye conditions as well, so it’s best to visit your eye doctor to determine the root cause.

Blurry Vision

Blurry vision is one of the main symptoms of cataracts. It is also often one of the first and most noticeable symptoms of cataracts.

The more cloudy your lenses become, the more blurry your vision will become. Stronger prescriptions for your glasses and contacts may help you see better at first, but eventually, glasses and contacts will not be able to correct your vision to the clarity you once had.

As cataracts advance, your vision will become more and more blurry and dim. If left untreated, cataracts can significantly reduce your vision. 

Many people with cataracts also notice that it becomes difficult to see up close. This particular issue is also often found in people who have presbyopia, which is a common age-related condition that makes it hard to focus up close. 

Since cataracts cause the lens to harden and lose flexibility, the lens is challenged to focus on up-close objects. If you notice increased blurry vision or you are beginning to struggle to see things up close, you may have cataracts. 

Poor Night Vision

Cataracts affect your low-light vision. The more developed your cataracts become, the harder it will become to see at night or without proper lighting. 

You may find you aren’t able to read or perform other fine-focus tasks without direct light. Having additional light over your reading material or menu may allow you to see better.

Light Sensitivity

If you have cataracts, you may be more sensitive to bright lights. You may find yourself squinting more, especially on sunny days. 

You should always wear sunglasses when you go outside or are driving during the day, whether or not you have cataracts. However, if you have cataracts, sunglasses might become increasingly necessary.

If your eyes become progressively more sensitive to light, it’s a good sign that you may have advanced cataracts.

Glare and Halos

In addition to light sensitivity, cataracts can make the light even brighter by creating glare and halos around light sources. This symptom is especially noticeable at night, as the contrast between the dark and bright street lights or car headlights can be blinding if you have cataracts. 

Combined with sensitivity to light, these symptoms can make it very hard to be outside at night at all.

Colors Appearing Muddy

This symptom is especially hard to notice since it tends to develop slowly, but if you have cataracts, you may find the world appears less colorful and more yellowish and muddy. You may find that you have trouble seeing the contrast between similar colors or spotting objects against similarly colored backgrounds. 

Combined with the other symptoms listed above, this is a good indication that you may be suffering from advanced cataracts.

Secondary Symptoms

Secondary symptoms are symptoms that aren’t caused directly by cataracts but rather by primary cataract symptoms. For example, because cataracts make it hard to see at night and create glare and halos, one common secondary cataract symptom is trouble driving at night. 

Between blinding glare from car headlights and poor night vision, it can be downright dangerous to drive after dark. Another common secondary cataract symptom is physical injury due to poor vision. 

When you have significantly advanced cataracts, you may fall or trip because of your various visual symptoms. Experiencing secondary symptoms is a good sign that it’s time to get treatment. 

Doctors recommend you have your cataracts treated once they begin to affect your quality of life. This may take years since, as we’ve discussed, cataracts take a while to develop. 

But once you’re experiencing secondary symptoms because of your cataracts, it’s probably time for treatment. There’s only one treatment for cataracts: cataract surgery. 

Cataract surgery is a very common, low-risk, outpatient procedure. It is a very safe procedure with an excellent success rate that can restore your vision!

Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Sierra Nevada Eye Center today for a consultation with one of our cataract specialists!