How Do I Know I Have Cataracts?

Older woman with cataracts smiling

Your eyesight can deteriorate for many different reasons, especially when you are older. Macular degeneration, glaucoma, presbyopia, and cataracts are a few of these issues.

Cataracts are the most common of these visual conditions. In fact, one in every six people in the U.S. older than 40 are affected by cataracts.

So how can you tell if your loss of vision is coming from the development of cataracts? Keep reading for signs to know you have cataracts!

Cataract Symptoms

Cataracts can display a variety of symptoms at different stages during their development. These include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Light sensitivity
  • Halos around light sources
  • Constantly changing eyeglasses prescription
  • A change in the way you see color (fading and yellowing)
  • Seeing many images, called double vision
  • A brief but noticeable improvement to vision called second sight.
  • Problems with depth perception

Cataracts will cause a combination of these symptoms, but not necessarily all at once. Certain symptoms are more common with different kinds of cataracts.

What type of cataract you have depends on how it grows inside of the lens.

If your cataract grows from the center of the lens, it’s a nuclear sclerotic cataract. These cataracts can cause second sight and develop slowly.

If you have a cataract that grows from the peripheral edge of the lens inwards, it’s a cortical cataract. This cataract forms spoke-like wedges that reach towards the center of the lens. They can cause glare after light bounces and scatters off the wedges.

If a cataract forms at the back of the lens where the lens is held in place, it’s a posterior subcapsular cataract. These cataracts can cause a halo effect around light sources and develop over the course of a few months.

Diagnosing Cataracts

To diagnose cataracts, you will need to attend a cataract screening at Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Arizona. During this examination, you will undergo a series of tests. These will include the following:

Visual Acuity Test

A visual acuity test helps determine how well you can see at a standard distance. This uses the classic chart with rows of letters that get smaller as they reach the bottom of the page.

You will sit 20 feet away from the chart and read off the letters to the doctor until you can no longer focus on them.

Slit-lamp Examination

A slit-lamp examination shows the doctor the inner workings of your eyes. They will use a specialized microscope that shines a bright light into your eye.

This causes the insides of the eye to light up. The doctor can use this to illuminate your eyes in sections. This allows them to examine your eyes in incredible detail.

Retinal Exam

A retinal exam helps your eye doctor rule out any potential retinal problems. To get the light to reach all the way back to your retina, the doctor will use eye drops that dilate your pupils.

If you have cataracts that are causing your vision loss, you will eventually need cataract surgery. You can find out more about this during your cataract screening.

Concerned that you may have cataracts or that you may need cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Arizona in Glendale, AZ!

If you’re worried about cataracts, why not take the first step and schedule a screening?

More Blogs