Have You Ever Wondered if You Have a Cataract?
A cataract is an optic medical condition in which the natural eye lens becomes clouded, obstructing vision. It is a slowly progressing disorder that starts with mild blurry vision and slowly completely blocks sight. Although people assume that cataract risk begins after 60, people start to show symptoms even before they turn 40. So, do you have any symptoms? Are you sure you are not overlooking the symptoms of cataracts?
- Cloudy sight
- Changing glasses often
- Yellow-hued vision
- Multiple vision
- Halos and glares all around
- Stairs become tricky
- Symptoms that are unique to specific cataracts
- If you answer yes to most of these questions, you have cataract
- When is the right moment for cataract surgery?
Cataracts can cause different vision obstructions, and cloudy sight is the most common. You might feel like the view is dim, dull, or blurry. If you gradually realize that the vision is getting blurrier over time, it could be the first indicator of a cataract.
Changing glasses often
Most people without eye cataracts change their glasses once a year or once in two. However, those with cataracts tend to change their glasses multiple times a year as they experience a change in their power. Some even buy expensive glasses, assuming that the blurry vision is due to scratches on their glasses. However, no matter how costly or strong-powered the glasses might be, you would again need a new one soon if you have an eye cataract.
During the initial cataract stages, even before the cloudiness begins, people could feel that their vision is yellowish or brown-tinted. It is because the lens protein starts to clump together to cause clouding and the protein clumps give the vision a yellowing hue. If you slowly lose your ability to differentiate between colours, usually the minute differences like yellow and orange, brown and red, and so on, you are at the initial stages of eye cataract.
Cataracts can cause secondary problems like diplopia and binocular double vision. In the case of the former one, you would see two images of a single object, and those with the latter tend to see two images of an object when both their eyes are open. Therefore, if you are starting to see double images while seeing with one/both eyes, you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts.
Halos and glares all around
The protein clumps cause light diffraction; thus, you would find all light sources glaring. You would be able to see halos around every light source. Therefore, driving would be a nightmare at night. You would have a hard time counting the number of light sources. These glares would be painful too. With cataracts, one tends to get too sensitive to light over time.
Stairs become tricky
Those with cataracts would have a hard time walking up/down the stairs, seeing in the distance, and the ability to spot minor details. The first symptom that hits you is the stairs becoming too puzzling, and you might feel like you would tumble and fall. Over time, driving, reading the newspaper, catching the match points on the TV screen, and telling the time would become tedious.
Symptoms that are unique to specific cataracts
There are different types of cataracts, and the primary symptoms vary based on the style.
Nuclear sclerotic cataract
A nuclear sclerotic cataract is the most typical condition, and the primary symptoms are
- Blurry/cloudy vision
- Problems with distant, night, and minute vision
- Need to change glasses frequently
Cortical cataract forms at the edges of the eye lens and slowly starts affecting the centre. The symptoms of this type of cataract are
- Blurry vision
- Problems in colour identification
- Problems in seeing things that are too far or near
- Double vision
Posterior subcapsular cataract
Posterior subcapsular cataracts are formed on the back of the lens. It is the most rapidly progressing cataract than others. Common symptoms include
- Blurred or double vision
- Difficulties in contrast sensitivity and near vision
If you answer yes to most of these questions, you have cataract
If you have diabetes, eye injury, long-term eye drop usage, obesity, high BP, myotonic dystrophy, and a family history of cataracts, ask yourself these questions.
- Do you feel the colours are very muted and dull?
- Have things that were usually bright white suddenly become yellow? For instance, is paper yellowish to you?
- Are you not confident in driving at night? Or do you feel you cannot perceive the distance between vehicles even during daylight?
- Are things looking blurrier at night than in the morning?
- Have your room lights or street lights become too bright that they are hurting your eyes?
- Are road signs harder to read without squinting?
- Do you see circles around light sources?
- Is recognizing faces becoming harder? Can you identify a person unless they walk significantly closer to you?
- Is it harder to read, watch TV, or do minute things even with new glasses?
- Are you changing glasses quite frequently?
- Do you feel like watching the world through a frosted/foggy screen?
If you are responding yes/maybe/sometimes to most of these, you have cataract.
When is the right moment for cataract surgery?
Cataracts are not life-threatening and are not something that progresses into other problems. Thus, there is no urgency in accepting surgery when you realize you have cataract symptoms. Several people live with cataracts without going for surgery. So, do you need the procedure? The answer lies in the severity of the concern. If the cataract affects your routine and reduces your quality of life, you need surgery. For instance, surgery is vital if you often fall or have near-miss road accidents because of blurry vision. On the other hand, if you think the cataract has just affected your reading and all that is different is the yellowish tint, you can change your glasses accordingly and move on.
Most cataract cases are self-identified when the lenses are so cloudy that the individuals are almost blind. Thus, it is best to learn the symptoms to get the corrective measures before it is too late. The more you wait, the harder your lens gets, and the size of the incision required for the surgery will be more significant. Thus, if you are nearing 40, keep an active eye on the symptoms/signs.
Make sure to check out HOW MUCH DOES CATARACT SURGERY COST IN KOLKATA?
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