4 Symptoms Most Early Cataracts Display – and What To Do About Them

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4 Symptoms Most Early Cataracts Display – and What To Do About Them

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May 2024

The onset of early cataracts is often on no one’s radar. But one day you find that you have more difficulty seeing the golf ball as it travels across a grey sky. You start putting in stronger lightbulbs because you feel you need more and more light in order to see well. You begin to avoid driving at night in the rain because, “you just can’t see” due to glare. It may come as a surprise that cataracts, even though linked to the later stages of natural aging, can affect some individuals at a much younger age. If you carry a family history of early cataract development or have encountered factors that could accelerate them, you may find yourself concerned. But, there are ways you can minimize influential factors, and with early detection, there are management options available!

What Are Early Cataracts, and What Factors Influence Their Development?

Early cataracts refer to the initial stages of clouding in the lens of the eye, which can lead to blurred vision, loss of contrast sensitivity, night glare and other visual disturbances as the lens becomes unable to properly focus light onto the retina.

Why Does a Cataract Develop?

Cataracts develop due to changes in the crystalline proteins within the eye’s lens. Normally, these proteins are arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through easily. However, with age and other factors like oxidative stress, these proteins can become damaged and clump together, leading to the formation of cloudy areas within the lens.

What Factors Influence Early Cataract Growth Beyond Age?

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation: Prolonged exposure to UV rays from sunlight can contribute to early cataract formation. Wear UV protective sunglasses and wide-brim hats. Side note here, if you receive a lot of radiation treatments or CT scans, inform your eye doctor.
  • Lifestyle Choices – Obesity and Smoking: Excess weight can lead to metabolic changes that promote inflammation, which may impact eye health. Additionally, tobacco smoke can harm eye tissue, leading to an increased risk of developing early cataracts.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cataracts due to changes in their metabolism. Aim to control blood sugar and have regular check-ups.
  • Eye trauma or injury: Damage to the eye can accelerate the development of cataracts; make sure to visit a doctor immediately for assessment if you sustain an eye injury.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as corticosteroids or diuretics, may increase the risk of early cataract formation. Follow doctor’s orders on taking meds and report changes in your vision.

The 4 Symptoms Of Early Cataracts – Knowing What To Look For In Your Vision

1. Blurred or Cloudy Vision

One of the primary indicators of early cataracts is a noticeable decrease in vision clarity. You may experience a foggy or hazy appearance as if you are looking through a dirty window. This can make it challenging to read, drive, or perform everyday tasks.

2. Difficulty With Night Vision

Another symptom of early cataracts is difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, such as at night or in dimly lit rooms. You may find it harder to discern objects or navigate in darkened areas.

3. Sensitivity to Light and Halos

Early cataracts can cause increased sensitivity to bright lights, such as sunlight or car headlights. You may experience discomfort or a glare effect, making it challenging to be in brightly lit environments. Additionally, you may notice halos around light sources, like street lights or lamps.

4. Changes in Color Perception

Cataracts can also affect your perception of color. Colors may appear faded or less vibrant, and you may notice a yellowish tint to your vision. This symptom tends to worsen as cataracts progress.

What To Do If You Notice Early Cataract Symptoms?

If you’re noticing symptoms of early cataracts, it’s time to get assessed by a healthcare professional through a comprehensive eye and lens exam. Taking a proactive approach and getting cataracts diagnosed early in their progression will allow for timely intervention and management to help preserve your vision and quality of life. Appropriate early strategies can include:

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses or wide-brim hats, managing underlying health conditions, and avoiding tobacco can be beneficial. Taking nutritional supplements containing vitamins like C and E, antioxidants, and minerals like zinc/selenium may slow cataract progression by combating oxidative damage.
  • Prescription Eyewear Adjustments: Having your prescription adjusted, especially in the early stages of the condition, can be invaluable to quality of life. Specialized contact or eyeglass lenses, coatings, or tints can help to improve cataract symptoms.

When to Consider Specialty Lens Surgery For Cataracts?

Cataract surgery should be considered when your quality of life becomes significantly affected by vision impairment.

Taking The Next Step

To address early cataract symptoms, schedule in for a consultation with us here at OVO LASIK + Lens. Our team of world-renowned eye surgeons can help you take the next step towards healthier, clearer vision and give you personalized feedback on what surgical options are suitable.

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