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Cataract Symptoms & Types of Cataracts

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Cataract Symptoms: Do you have a cataract?

A cataract (the clouding of the eye’s lens) can occur for a variety of reasons, although most cases are due to the aging process. Cataract symptoms may be noticed gradually, over time, or suddenly with rapid onset. Typically, though, cataracts are painless and only dangerous when they obstruct your vision to the point that you can’t complete normal activities, such as driving. Here are some of the most common cataract symptoms:

  • Cloudy, dim or blurry vision
  • Increasingly poor night vision
  • Sensitive to glare and bright light
  • Light “halos”
  • Increased need for brighter light to read or to complete other tasks
  • Increased or frequent changes to contact lens or eyeglass prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors that were once vivid
  • Double-vision in one eye

At first, a cataract may only affect part of the eye’s lens and may not even be noticeable. Over time, however, it can grow larger and cloud more of the lens so that light is distorted as it passes through. You may notice yourself blinking more than normal to try to clear your vision, or that you need more light to complete tasks that you could normally do with average light levels. Night driving may become more difficult, as glares and halos may obstruct your vision. Eventually, this clouding can impair vision to the point where surgical correction is necessary.

Types of Cataracts

There are three main types of cataracts: nuclear, cortical and subcapsular. A nuclear cataract appears at the center of the eye’s lens. Early on, a nuclear cataract can cause increased nearsightedness (myopia) and can even cause a temporary improvement of reading vision. However, as it gets worse, a nuclear cataract will turn more yellow and will increasingly cloud your vision. Night driving can be particularly tough.

A cortical cataract starts out with whitish, wedge-shaped obstructions or streaks on the outer edge of the eye’s lens. As it progresses, a cortical cataract will spread to the center of the lens and cause increased disturbance of light processing. Issues with glare are most commonly reported with this type of cataract.

A subcapsular cataract begins as a tiny, opaque spot just under the capsule of the lens. This type becomes more noticeable sooner, since it usually forms at the back of the lens, right in the direct path of light that has to pass through on its way to the retina. Common symptoms of this type include decreased reading vision, decreased vision in bright light and halos and glares at night.

Dr. Ilan Cohen at the 5th Avenue Eye Center in New York is a renowned cataract surgeon who can surgically correct your cataracts in a matter of minutes. Our New York office is conveniently located and we perform a large number of cataract surgery procedures regularly. If you’re interested in cataract surgery in New York, contact our office for a no-obligation consultation.


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5 Myths About Cataracts
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