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Here's How Cataracts Affect Your Vision

Here's How Cataracts Affect Your Vision

Cataracts can cloud your vision and make it difficult to do many basic activities, such as reading, cooking, driving a car, or recognizing faces. However, there are ways to spot cataracts early and options for surgical intervention to help prevent blindness from this common eye condition.

At Ventura Eye Institute in Camarillo, California, our professional team of eye care specialists can diagnose cataracts and tell you if cataract surgery can help you preserve your sight. 

Who gets cataracts? 

It’s estimated that more than 24 million Americans have cataracts. The risk goes up for older people, but cataracts can begin forming as early as age 40.

White people are at higher risk for cataracts than other groups; in fact, 70% of white Americans have cataracts by the time they reach the age of 80, compared with about 50% of Black Americans in the same age group. 

While the core cause of cataracts can vary between individuals, in most cases aging causes the lens inside the eye to thicken, making it less transparent. 

Proteins in the tissue start to break down and clump together, forming cloudy spots in your field of vision that can look like milky areas from the outside of the eye. These areas can spread and connect until vision is completely obscured. 

How cataracts affect vision

In most cases, people who are developing cataracts don’t notice at first, because the changes are so gradual. They only realize there is an issue when they experience blurry vision, either near or far.

The view is described as being cloudy, filmy, or foggy. The problem gets worse over time, and night vision can be particularly affected, especially when driving in the dark. This can be compounded by light sensitivity, making headlights and streetlamps seem to produce glare. 

Entering bright sunlight can also cause harsh halos to appear, and you might have difficulty seeing in broad daylight.

You might have double vision if you have cataracts in one eye but not the other. You also might notice changes in how you perceive color, or realize you don’t need reading glasses any more because cataracts actually temporarily seem to improve your close-up vision.

If you have diabetes, have had eye surgeries in the past, or have used steroid medications long term, your risk for cataracts increases. The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent yourself from going blind.

Cataract prevention and treatment

Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and using eye protection can all help prevent cataracts. Getting an annual eye exam, especially after age 40, can mean spotting cataracts early in their formation. 

If necessary, you can have cataract surgery to replace a lens clouded by cataracts with a new one, restoring your sight.

Is your vision a little cloudy? You can get an eye exam and learn more about cataracts by visiting Ventura Eye Institute. Schedule an appointment by calling 805-388-1211, or you can book online.

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