As you age, vision changes are common, but losing the ability to see well in low-light conditions may be a sign of cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye that leads to blurred vision, among many other symptoms.
If you find yourself struggling to see when driving at night or in dimly lit restaurants, it may mean a cataract is forming. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts, including some of the most common signs!
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process that cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy and obstruct light from easily passing to the retina at the back of the eye. The lens is normally clear, allowing light to pass through it cleanly so images can be focused sharply on the retina.
The retina then converts the light into signals that are sent to the brain, which interprets them as the images you see. As you get older, some proteins in the lens begin to break down and clump together.
These protein clumps cause the lens to become increasingly cloudy. As cataracts progress, they obstruct more and more light from reaching the retina.
Instead of a sharp image, vision becomes unfocused and blurry. Colors may start to look faded or yellowed as well.
In the early stages, stronger glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses can help compensate. But over time, cataracts can worsen, substantially interfering with daily activities like reading, cooking, watching TV, shopping, driving, and more.
When cataracts begin limiting your normal lifestyle or pose safety issues, they likely require surgical removal so your vision can be restored.
What Are The Most Common Cataract Symptoms?
Cataracts tend to develop slowly, often without any pain. The following are among the most common symptoms to be aware of:
- Blurry, cloudy, or dim vision
- Increased sensitivity to light and glare
- Halos or auras around lights
- Colors appearing faded or yellowed
- Double vision in one eye
- Frequent prescription changes in your glasses
- Trouble seeing at night
- Problems seeing details clearly
If everyday tasks like reading, driving, watching TV, or shopping become more difficult even with corrected vision, it likely means cataracts are advancing, and cataract surgery should be considered. Reporting any vision difficulties to an eye doctor allows early diagnosis and treatment before cataracts significantly interfere with your quality of life.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
During cataract surgery, an ophthalmologist makes a tiny incision in the eye to reach the cloudy lens. They break up the old lens with ultrasound and suction out the pieces.
A clear artificial lens implant is inserted in place of the natural lens. The implant improves vision and may decrease dependence on glasses after surgery.
The procedure is typically quick, lasting fifteen to thirty minutes, and performed on an outpatient basis.
Will Cataract Surgery Help Me See Better At Night?
Many patients find their night vision and low-light capabilities improve after cataract surgery and lens replacement. Your eye doctor can help you select a lens implant that not only corrects your close-up and distance vision during the day but also allows more light through to your retina at night.
Advanced lens options filter less light than cloudy cataracts once did, helping restore sharper vision in dim conditions after sunset. Choosing an intraocular lens (IOL) for your cataract surgery is one of the most important steps in the process.
If having better night vision is important to you, discuss your options with your eye doctor. They can guide you in choosing the best IOL for you based on your vision, goals, lifestyle, and hobbies.
Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule an appointment at Simone Eye Center in Warren or Macomb Township, MI, today!