EyeWise Vision Clinic

The Effects of Cataract Symptoms on Your Vision

Cataracts are a prevalent condition that significantly affects the vision of many Singaporeans, especially older adults. According to the National University Hospital, cataracts affect 63.6% of people between 60 and 64 years old, as well as 94.6% of people 75 years and older. Moreover, another study showed that a significant portion of Singaporean adults grappling with visually significant cataracts had remained undiagnosed until recently, indicating a concerning gap in detection. Among these cases, a notable portion experienced bilateral visual impairment, significantly impacting their quality of life. 

Recognising cataracts as a common vision problem in Singapore, urgent public health interventions, including routine screening for visual impairment and prompt referral to ophthalmologists upon compromised visual function, are imperative to prevent further deterioration and ensure optimal eye health outcomes.

Early Signs of Cataracts

For many, the early stages of cataract formation are marked by increasing difficulty in achieving clear vision through previously adequate corrective lenses. Regular eye check-ups with a specialist are essential for monitoring these changes and adapting your prescription as needed. However, cataract surgery might become necessary as the condition progresses to restore quality of life and maintain your vision.

How Does a Cataract Affect Your Vision?

The symptoms of cataracts can vary but typically progress from mild to severe over time. Understanding these symptoms can help you recognise the condition early on and receive early intervention.

1. Cloudy or Blurry Vision

At the onset of cataracts, you may find that your vision becomes slightly blurry or less sharp than usual. It might start with difficulty in reading small print or needing more light to read comfortably. 

What many do to address these issues is to go for prescription updates, which can address their visual challenges temporarily. However, as cataracts develop, these adjustments become more frequent. This is caused by the eye’s lens gradually becoming more clouded and scattering the light as it enters, which reduces the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.

2. Double Vision

Double vision, or diplopia, occurs when two images of a single object are seen. It is a symptom that can arise from cataracts as the lens of the eye becomes increasingly opaque, causing light rays entering the eye to split and form multiple images. This visual impairment can be disorienting and confusing, potentially affecting daily tasks such as reading, driving, and walking.

3. Light Sensitivity and Halos

Increased sensitivity to light and the appearance of halos around lights are common complaints among those developing cataracts. These symptoms result from the clouded lens scattering incoming light, which not only reduces the sharpness of vision but also creates bright circles around light sources, known as halos. This can be particularly hazardous when driving at night, as the glare from oncoming headlights can temporarily blind a driver.

4. Lens Discolouration

As cataracts mature, the lens of your eye may darken, turning a noticeable yellow or even brown. This discolouration can further impair your night vision and is often visibly apparent to others, indicating the progression of the condition.

When Do I Meet with an Eye Specialist?

It’s recommended that you visit an eye care clinic when you experience the aforementioned early signs and symptoms of cataracts. That way, the eye specialist can assess your symptoms through a comprehensive eye examination and determine strategies that can address your condition. These may include updating your prescriptions or considering surgical intervention should your impairment significantly affect your daily activities.

When Should I Get Cataract Eye Surgery?

Deciding when to undergo cataract eye surgery involves several considerations, primarily based on how much the cataract impairs your vision and affects your daily activities. For example, if your vision has deteriorated to the point where you find it difficult to read, drive, or see expressions on people’s faces, it might be time to discuss surgery. 

Another consideration is if symptoms worsen and lesser interventions like updated prescriptions no longer manage the condition optimally.

Your eye care provider will evaluate the stage of your cataract, your lifestyle needs, and any other health considerations to advise on the appropriate timing for surgery. It is essential to have open and honest discussions about your vision needs and expectations from the surgery. This collaborative approach ensures that you are informed and comfortable with your decision to proceed with surgery when the time is right. 

For more information, check out our insight into the different types of cataract surgeries and their procedure.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *