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What Are the First Noticeable Signs of Cataracts? 

June 3, 2022

The effects of aging take a toll on the body’s cells and tissues, including those that make the eyes. Cataracts is a condition that develops as a result of aging so people over the age of 40 are at an increased risk. The good news is early detection and treatment can help minimize any damage done to the eyes and protect your vision. Read on as an Arvada, CO optometrist discusses how cataracts develop, noticeable signs to watch for, and who’s most at risk. 

How Cataracts Develop

The aging process breaks down the materials and structures that make up the eyes, just like it does with other areas of the body. With cataracts, aging causes damage to the lens of the eyes. 

Your lens consists mainly of protein and water. This composition allows light to pass through. The effects of aging can cause this protein-water mix to start clumping. When this happens, the lens becomes clouded, which is what cataracts are -cloudy lenses. 

As the lenses become cloudy, your vision becomes less clear. Over time, the lenses can even start to harden and become less flexible, which further clouds your vision. Typically, cataracts develop over time, however, and injury to your lens can lead to cataracts. 

Noticeable Signs of Cataracts to Watch for

Signs of cataracts usually develop gradually, so they can be hard to spot during the early stages. Consequently, many people start to adjust their lifestyles to accommodate these subtle vision changes. Knowing what signs to watch for can help you take action sooner rather than later.

The first noticeable signs of cataracts are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Colors start to look faded
  • Needing to change the prescription on your eyeglasses or contact lenses frequently
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Needing more light for close-up tasks, like reading
  • Cloudy or dim vision
  • Diminished night vision 

Who’s Most at Risk?

  • People who’ve experienced eye trauma or injury
  • Smokes
  • Diabetics
  • People with preexisting eye problems
  • Having a family history of cataracts
  • People of Hispanic and African-American descent
  • People regularly consume alcohol
  • People between the ages of 40 and 50 years old 

Cataract Treatment Options

Treatment options for cataracts vary depending on the severity of a person’s condition. An optometrist conducts a series of eye tests to assess the condition of your eyes. From there, a treatment plan is devised. The most commonly used procedures to test for cataracts include:

  • A retinal evaluation
  • Visual acuity test
  • Slit-lamp exam

Based on the results of your evaluation, your optometrist may recommend surgery if cataracts have progressed to an advanced stage. Less-invasive forms of treatment can be used to improve your vision of cataracts are caught in the early stages. 

If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to call our Arvada, CO optometry office today.