What are the symptoms of cataracts?

The symptoms of cataracts affect vision, which is increasingly impaired. Since in most cases this happens creepingly and painlessly with increasing clouding of the lens, it can take a long time for the disease to be recognized and perceived as such.

Often the cataract is not recognized by its symptoms, but by chance, e.g. during a routine examination in the ophthalmologist's office. Because we are very adaptable and can get used to the lack of sight unnoticed.

Typical vision problems in cataracts

But what are the typical signs? Here are the main symptoms:

  • The brightness decreases, as well as the luminosity of the colors, which eventually fade to yellow.
  • The visual acuity decreases.
  • The sensitivity to glare increases, especially in bright sunlight or at night while driving.
  • The vision in the dark and the quick adaptation to light-dark changes do not work so well, while reading brighter light is required.
  • The spatial vision also suffers.
  • The visual impression becomes increasingly blurred, as if behind a haze or through a dirty, slightly brownish-tinted sunglasses.
  • Also double images and halos can occur.
  • The prescription glasses are increasing, the glasses are changed more often.
  • In the advanced stage, the usually greyish lens opacity is also visible to the naked eye from outside, hence the name.

Not all lens opacifications affect vision equally, but their localization also plays a role. For example, central opacity causes a reduction in vision, while opacification on the back of the lens beneath the capsule (subcapsular) causes severe glare sensitivity.

Even improved vision can be a symptom

But it can also occur an opposite, perceived positive effect, which temporarily makes the reading glasses unnecessary. For those who were previously age-aware, the increased refractive power of the lens can now help them gain a better view. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is usually short-lived. Ultimately, the increasing opacification of the lens worsens vision at all distances.

Author: Dr. Hubertus Glaser