Recognizing the Early Signs of Cataracts

 Recognizing the Early Signs of Cataracts

If you’re worried about cataracts, or the clouding of the clear lens behind your pupil, you have a good reason. More than half of all Americans develop cataracts or undergo cataract surgery by the time they turn 80 years old. But while age is the top risk factor for cataracts, younger people can develop the condition, too.   

Optometrist Stacy Turner, OD, and the team at Eldorado Vision & Optical in McKinney, Texas, can identify cataracts as part of their comprehensive eye care services. Cataracts usually develop slowly, and in their earliest stages, symptoms can be mistaken for other vision problems. 

It’s important to recognize the early signs of cataracts so you can get the prompt eye care and treatment you need to preserve your vision. Here’s what you should know.  

What are cataracts?

The lenses of your eyes are normally clear, which allows the lens to focus the light that filters through it so that your brain and eye can create a clear image. You develop cataracts when the lens in one or both eyes begins to cloud over and vision gets foggy. 

People generally develop cataracts as they get older, usually beginning around the age of 50, giving them the name age-related cataracts. Because cataracts develop slowly, however, most people don’t notice the associated changes until they reach their 60s or 70s. 

Other risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing age-related cataracts include:

Age-related cataracts are only one type of cataract, however. Some babies are born with congenital cataracts, which may or may not affect eyesight. People can also develop traumatic cataracts if one or both eyes are affected by an injury. 

In some cases, secondary cataracts form because of an eye-damaging disease, like diabetes, or from taking certain eye-affecting medications, like inhaled steroids for allergies. 

What are the early signs of cataracts?

It can take decades for cataracts to develop enough to cause noticeable symptoms. As they develop, they create changes in your eyesight that may help you detect their presence, including:

Keep in mind that cataracts don’t cause physical pain, but the light sensitivity they trigger can make you uncomfortable in brightly lit rooms or when you go outside on a sunny day. 

What should I do if I suspect I have cataracts?

If you notice any of these early warning signs of cataracts, schedule a cataract evaluation with Dr. Turner as soon as possible. Other eye conditions can trigger similar symptoms as cataracts, so a comprehensive eye exam is the only way to determine the root cause of your vision troubles. 

Once Dr. Turner determines you have cataracts, she outlines your treatment options and refers you to a cataract surgeon for consultation if necessary. Surgery to replace your cloudy lens with a biocompatible implanted lens takes about 30 minutes, and thanks to advances in medical technology, the treatment is safe, effective, and painless.   

To learn more about cataracts and cataract treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Turner at Eldorado Vision & Optical in McKinney, Texas, over the phone or online today. 

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