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What are the Most Common Signs of Cataracts?

September 1, 2023

Do you suffer from blurry vision? Does it feel like you're looking at the world around you through a foggy or dirty window?

These are some of the signs associated with having a cataract. Cataracts are a highly prevalent eye condition.

Most people will get cataracts at some point in their life. While cataracts are usually a result of aging, just being over 40 puts you at risk for them.

As you get older, the chemicals in your body change. One side effect of these changes is that the eye's natural lens, which is supposed to be clear, becomes cloudy. If the natural lens becomes cloudy, this is a cataract.

Cataracts tend to develop slowly, so you may not even notice you have them at first. But as your lens grows cloudier, it can cause many visual symptoms.

If you think you may have cataracts, the only way to find out is to have your eyes examined by one of the ophthalmologists at Washington Eye Specialists. This is one reason you should have regular eye exams once you turn 40.

But there are a few common signs of cataracts that you can look for in between your regular eye exams. It's also good to watch for these signs if you've been diagnosed with cataracts but they are still in the early stages.

Doing this will make it easier to know when you start to experience symptoms. Keep reading to find out some of the most common signs of cataracts!

You Have Double Vision Only in One Eye

shutterstock-1478918039One of the earliest symptoms of cataracts can be difficult to spot. But if you have double vision in only one eye, meaning you see double even when one eye is closed, this is often a sign that you could have a cataract.

Double vision in only one eye is called monocular double vision. Binocular double vision is when you only have double vision when both eyes are open, and it can indicate a serious neurological condition.

If you're experiencing double vision, see your eye doctor for a prompt diagnosis. Although it might not be due to cataracts, it's always a good idea to determine the root cause of your visual problems, including if you're experiencing double vision.

Your Vision is Blurry

shutterstock-1185179050One of the most common signs of cataracts that cataract patients often complain of is blurry vision. When your natural lens is clouded, seeing through it is like looking through a foggy window pane.

Everything on the other side of the window appears out of focus, just like everything looks out of focus when you have advanced cataracts. You may mistake blurry vision as your vision gets worse due to aging.

But a stronger prescription is no longer enough to correct your eyesight once you have cataracts. A stronger prescription may appear to help at first, but eventually, nothing will make your vision crisper or clearer until you treat your cataracts by having cataract surgery.

You Have Bad Night Vision


Cataracts affect your night vision, making it much harder to see in low light. Many patients with advanced cataracts find it especially hard to see when doing fine-focus tasks like reading without using direct light.

This symptom can be mistaken for presbyopia, which many cataract patients also have, and makes it hard to focus up close. But when direct light helps you see better, that's a good indication that at least part of the issue is cataracts.

You See Glare and Halos Around Lights

Patients with cataracts experience intense glare from light sources and often see halos around lights. Seeing glare and halos around lights can be incredibly frustrating as you need more light to see when you have cataracts, but bright lights can also make it hard to see.

Combined with poor night vision, this symptom can also make it more challenging to drive at night, especially considering cataracts make your eyes more sensitive to light.

You're More Sensitive to Light

shutterstock-2347125265Your eyes tend to be more sensitive to light when you have cataracts. Increased light sensitivity can make glare from certain lights practically blinding and can make driving after dark nearly impossible.

When you have advanced cataracts, glare from headlights and street lamps at night can make it hard to keep your eyes open. If you have less than ideal vision in the evenings, you'll still struggle to see even if you're alone on the road.

If your cataracts have made driving more challenging at night, find a friend or family member to take you where you need to go. You can go back to driving in the evenings once you've had cataract surgery, making the road a much safer place to be.

Colors Look Less Vibrant

Does it feel like everything has a yellow or brown tint to it? Are there things you know should be white that look washed out to you?

Cataracts can make colors lose their vibrance and make things look downright muddy, meaning you'll struggle to see contrast. It can be hard to notice this symptom since it develops slowly, but there are things you can look out for.

If you struggle more and more to see the difference between two similar colors or to see objects against similarly colored backgrounds, it's a good indication that you may have advanced cataracts.

You've Injured Yourself Due to Poor Vision

shutterstock-2310481281Many people with advanced cataracts struggle to see. Because of this, you might injure yourself more due to your increasingly impaired vision. Driving at night can be dangerous when you have advanced cataracts, but walking around your home may feel unsafe, especially in the dark.

If you've had an accident or have injured yourself because you've had trouble seeing clearly, you may have advanced cataracts. Talk to your eye doctor at Washington Eye Specialists to determine if it's time to consider cataract surgery.

When to Get Treatment

If you have cataracts, the only way to treat them is to have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery allows you to see clearly by removing both the natural lens and the cataract formed on the natural lens.


However, because cataracts develop so slowly, you'll unlikely need cataract surgery after being diagnosed with cataracts. If you are not experiencing visual symptoms and can still complete everyday tasks, you may not need cataract surgery yet.

But once you start experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of life, it's time to start thinking about cataract surgery. Do you think you may need cataract surgery?

Request an appointment at Washington Eye Specialists in Washington, DC, to learn more! If impaired vision is getting you down, take the next step towards better eyesight!