How Do You Know If You Have Cataracts in Your Eyes?
If you’re getting older, some of your friends may be developing cataracts. You may be asking yourself, “How do you know if you have cataracts in your eyes?” Cataracts develop very slowly, usually after age 55. At first, a cataract only affects a small part of the lens, so you will generally not have symptoms in the early stages. This is why it is important to have annual eye exams with us at Elmquist Eye Group.
As you age, your eyes age right along with you. In fact, age is the number one risk factor for developing cataracts. The National Institute on Aging data shows that one in five people over age 65 have already developed cataracts.
Tell me more about cataracts
Cataracts are a normal scenario of aging and not a disease. The eye lens is composed of proteins that begin to break down as we age. The protein breakdown forms on the lens, clouding it and affecting vision. Cataracts usually only develop in one eye first, but often will develop in the other eye as well.
Over time, as the proteins cloud more of the lens, people begin to have symptoms. The first recognizable sign is usually a change in night vision. Oncoming lights may have a halo effect, and your distance vision may be affected.
It can literally take years for you to notice any symptoms from a cataract. Here is a list of some fairly common cataract symptoms, so if you are experiencing any of these, be sure to schedule a check-up with us at Elmquist Eye Group:
- Vision that is cloudy or blurry
- Vision that appears dim or dull
- Colors appear faded
- Vision that appears as if you are looking through a waterfall
- Vision that is poor at night
- Vision with light and glare sensitivity
- Vision with halos around lights and headlights
- Frequent changes in your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription
As the proteins grow more prominent on the lens, the cataract thickens, becomes yellow, and becomes more rigid and less flexible. These changes cause incoming light to be blocked from reaching the pupil, so vision is less clear.
While age is the overarching cause of cataracts, people who smoke or drink alcohol are more prone to developing cataracts, as are people who tend to have excessive exposure to sunlight. Family history of cataracts is also a factor.
Cataracts cannot be prevented, and surgery is the only remedy. We can change your glasses or contact lens prescription more frequently to help your vision, but at some point will recommend surgery to permanently fix the cataract.
Our Elmquist surgeons perform the surgery on an outpatient basis, replacing the clouded lens with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant (IOL), which feels and functions so much like your natural lens, that you won’t even know the difference.
How do you know if you have cataracts in your eyes? Come see our exceptional doctors at Elmquist Eye Group and we will help you find out. Make an appointment at either our Fort Myers or Cape Coral locations. We are confident in our ability to provide you with outstanding eye care.