Cataract Symptoms

Symptoms of cataracts can differ for each person, depending on the type of cataract they have. Symptoms for all types of cataracts may include blurry vision or glare from car headlights, especially at night. Sunlight or indoor overhead lighting may seem to be too bright or cause glare. You may notice that bright colors appear dull. You may also notice everything seems to be slightly yellow. Sometimes cataracts can cause double vision, and you may find that you are frequently changing contact lens or eyeglasses prescriptions. The degree of vision change depends on the intensity of the light entering the eye and the location of the cataract. As an example, let’s discuss a centrally located cataract for a minute.

Normally the pupil constricts in bright light, narrowing the pathway through which light enters the eye. When a cataract is present, the light has a difficult time passing through the cataract, especially when it is centrally located (this is called a nuclear cataract). When it is dark, the pupil dilates, which causes bright lights that suddenly appear in the darkness (such as headlights approaching on a dark road) to scatter at the edge of the cataract, causing glares and halos. When a cataract develops in the back of the lens (a posterior subcapsular cataract) it affects a person’s vision more than a cataract in another location because the cloudiness is at a point where the light rays are already focused in a narrow beam. The effect of going from brightly lit rooms into dark ones can be more extreme and cause an even greater loss of vision. Knowing where the cataract is located can explain why some symptoms are worse than others.

Occasionally you may experience cataract-like symptoms, but those symptoms may be a sign of another eye-related problem. This is why it is best to get checked by your eye doctor if you are experiencing any changes in your vision.