When you or a loved one is suffering from eye issues, you may start to wonder if it could be due to cataracts. But, how can you tell if you have cataracts in the first place? 

Many people have heard the term but still wouldn’t be able to answer simple questions.

What are cataracts? What do cataracts look like?

Well, a cataract is an eye disease in which cloudy areas develop in the lens of your eye and distort your vision. The eye lens also tends to harden with cataracts.

When someone has a cataract, it basically looks like that person has a large foggy and spotted cloud covering the center of their pupil.

Usually, cataracts develop in people as they age, but there have been countless cataract cases in young people as well. Statistics show more than 24 million Americans over the age of 40 deal with cataracts. Half of Americans over the age of 80 have cataracts.

Keep reading as we discuss the causes and the top 7 symptoms of cataracts. 

What Causes Cataracts? What Do Cataracts Look Like?

Some life factors that could lead to you developing cataracts include having diabetes, having had eye surgery in the past, being a smoker, drinking excessive alcohol, using steroid medication long-term, and more.

Other things that could cause you to develop cataracts one day include inherited cataracts genes disorders, eye injuries.

Cataracts often appear to be almost a white or cloudy film forming on the eyeball. It may be visible to others or if in early stages or at the back of the eye it may not. Cataracts are caused by the proteins in the eye clumping and causing the cloudy film.

1. Clouded, Spotty, and Double Vision

Like we previously stated, a cataract is characterized by cloudy eyes and vision. Because of the cloudiness cataracts cast over the lens of people’s eyes, looking through an eye lens that is diseased with cataracts may seem like looking through a fog.

The early signs of cataracts also include eyesight blurriness. Because of the eye cloudiness and blurriness that cataracts cause, people with cataracts often suffer from double vision. Double vision is when you see two of one thing.

Cataracts also cause people to experience spottiness in their eyesight. Thus, many people that are suffering from cataracts have an increasing white spot in the center of their eyes.

2. Frequent Changes in Eye Glasses and/or Contact Prescriptions

Cataracts increase the speed at which eye vision deteriorates. This means in the early stages of cataracts individuals may need to change their eyeglasses and/or contact prescriptions more often than normal. In fact, many people with cataracts report needing new eyeglasses and/or contact prescriptions every few months. This is abnormal since the average person only needs to change his or her eyeglasses and/or contact prescriptions every couple of years. 

Cataracts also increase the intensity at which eye vision deteriorates. Many individuals with cataracts notice their eyesight dimming or changing. This noticeable change is also abnormal since most people’s eyes deteriorate at such a slow pace that they don’t notice when their vision is changing.  

3. Need for Brighter Lighting

When in the early stages of having cataracts, you may feel compelled to increase the level of lighting around you to see. This is because the eye cloudiness that cataract disease is causing you is still at a mild enough point that simply turning on a brighter light will help you function more easily. This is especially true if you are trying to do an activity that requires you to focus.

For example, having cataracts can cause you to put on a brighter light when reading.

4. Sensitivity to Light and Glare

A person who has cataract disease becomes more and more sensitive to light and glare as his or her cataract advances in stages. A person may need more direct light to see what they are doing but find the sun or other lights too bright and bothersome.

5. Seeing Halos Around Lights

Having cataracts can cause you to see halos around lights. This is because of posterior subcapsular cataracts. Posterior subcapsular cataracts occur when an opaque area forms in the back of an eye’s lens within its path of light. This opaque area causes your eyes to see halos around lights at night.

6. Trouble Seeing During Night

As a cataract causes your eyesight to become more and more cloudy, your vision will get so bad that you will no longer be able to see or drive at night. Driving at night when you have cataracts is especially difficult when your eyesight is simultaneously blurry and distorted.

7. Darkening of Your Eyes

When a cataract advances to the later stages, your eyes and eyesight could darken to different shades of yellow, grey, and black. This darkening of your eyes is part of the reason why many people with advanced cataracts can no longer drive or see at night.

When Should I Ask for Solutions?

You should ask your Lexington eye doctor for help and possible solutions for your cataracts as soon as you develop the early-stage symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of early-stage cataracts include mild eye blurriness and cloudiness, early sensitivity to light and glare, and an ever-increasing eye strain. Sudden headaches, seeing flashes of lights, sudden vision changes, and double vision could also be symptoms of early to immature stages of cataracts.

If you are suffering from most of the early symptoms of cataracts and you are still unsure how to answer the question what do cataracts look like? Set up an appointment and get your eyes checked out. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

To learn more about eye doctor services in Lexington, Kentucky, come visit us at one of our many locations today.