what does cataract vision look like melbourne

What Does Cataract Vision Look Like?

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Australia. However, before you see a cataract surgeon, your cataracts first need to be diagnosed. It’s not uncommon for cataracts to be diagnosed during a routine optometrist examination before you’ve even noticed any changes to your sight. This being said, understanding what does cataract vision look like can help you to be on the lookout for symptoms.  

 

What Does Cataract Vision Look Like? 

The symptoms of a cataract can vary from person to person, depending on a few factors, which can affect the answer to what does cataract vision look like for you. One individual may be more sensitive to changes to their sight and therefore be more impacted by an early or mild cataract. The location and size of a cataract will also play a big part in the symptoms one experiences. 

Early or mild cataracts often go unnoticed until you attend a routine optometrist visit. For some people, a cataract can reach the moderate stage and still not be causing any concerns that need to be addressed by a cataract surgeon

As your cataracts develop, these are some signs and symptoms you might slowly become aware of.

 

Reducing contrast sensitivity.

cataract vision look like melbourneThis can be a vague concept to understand. Contrast sensitivity is your ability to discern subtle differences between light and dark details. For example, the typical letter chart used for most vision testing uses bold black letters against a bright white background.

This is a high contrast chart. However, in the real world, not everything we need to see is high contrast. If you’re developing cataracts, you may find you begin to experience increased difficulties in seeing in certain situations.

This can include driving through heavy rain, detecting the edge of a step, or reading in the dim lighting of a restaurant. 

 

Deteriorating clarity of sight.

Many assume that cataracts should cause blurry vision. For some, this is the case. However, many people with cataracts don’t always describe their sight as blurry. Instead, you may think of your sight as more filmy, foggy, cloudy, or hazy. Some describe the sensation as looking through a dirty window or glasses lenses that can’t be cleaned. 

 

Altering colour perception.

One type of age-related cataract known as nuclear sclerosis forms as a yellowish-brown haze to the centre of your lens. The effect of this is to filter certain wavelengths of light as they enter the eye. Although not many people are so attuned to their colour perception, those that are may find the colours of the world around them slowly take on a different hue. The impact of cataracts on your colour perception is more noticeable once you’ve had cataract surgery. You may notice colours suddenly appear much brighter and more vibrant. 

 

Frequently shifting prescription.

As a cataract form, it can change the prescription of your glasses or contact lenses. This shift can go in any direction, depending on the type of cataract. For example, you may find yourself becoming more short-sighted, more long-sighted, or your astigmatism either increases or decreases. If your prescription is changing so often that it becomes financially unviable to keep updating your glasses, your cataract surgeon or optometrist may recommend cataract surgery, even if you feel your sight is okay overall. 

 

Increasing glare sensitivity.

If you find yourself beginning to avoid driving at night time because the glare of oncoming headlights is too debilitating, you may be experiencing increased glare sensitivity from cataracts. Also known as photophobia, this can also manifest in situations such as finding backlit digital screens quite uncomfortable to view, and you need to reduce the screen brightness to see it properly. 

 

When is it Time for Cataract Surgery?

Despite experiencing one or all of the signs and symptoms listed above, it’s most likely not necessary that you need to rush into cataract surgery. Your primary eyecare provider – your optometrist – will be able to assess your cataracts and have a discussion about what does your cataract vision look like and how it’s impacting your daily activities. If you both agree it’s time for cataract surgery, your optometrist or GP can refer you to a cataract surgeon

The point at which cataract surgery is indicated will vary depending on a number of factors. For example, if one of your hobbies is painting, you may find that your inaccurate colour perception is affecting your artwork. If you work as a truck driver doing long overnight trips, your increased glare sensitivity or reduced contrast sensitivity may make it unsafe on the road for you. Conversely, if you’re noticing a decline in your sight but are still functioning quite comfortably, you may choose to defer cataract surgery until your daily activities are more impacted.

Your optometrist will be able to advise you if there are other modifications you can make in the meantime while you wait for your cataract operation. This may include simply adjusting your lighting around the house or workplace, such as using a directed lamp or task lighting when trying to read the fine print. If you find digital screens uncomfortable, turning down the brightness can make them easier to view. If your cataracts are only causing a slow and gradual shift in your prescription, updating your glasses or contact lenses could be a good option for making your vision easier. As your cataracts progress, eventually updating your prescription still won’t be adequate; your optometrist will likely refer you to a cataract surgeon at this point if you haven’t been referred already. 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

References

Contrast Sensitivity Testing. 

https://www.allaboutvision.com/en-au/eye-exam/contrast-sensitivity/

Cataracts.

https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts

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Signs of Cataract – Discover How to Recognise the Condition

If you’re in your 60s or 70s, you can expect to find yourself developing cataracts. In fact, at this age, it’s not uncommon to have already undergone cataract surgery. Since developing cataracts is just a normal and anticipated part of human ageing, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the world. However, recognising the signs of a cataract isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. Keep reading to learn about the signs of a cataract

 

Signs of a Cataract

A cataract is a haze or opacity of the lens inside the eye. In a young, healthy eye, this lens is optically transparent so that light can pass through for sharp vision. However, as we age, it gradually loses its clarity, and at some point, we call it a cataract. 

One of the signs of a cataract is exactly as you’d expect – your sight becomes hazy and less clear. You might describe the experience as filmy, cloudy, blurry, or like it feels as if you’re constantly looking through a dirty window or smudged glasses. An early cataract tends not to result in any noticeable deterioration of your clarity of sight. Quite often the first clue that you’re developing cataracts is just from your optometrist mentioning it during a routine eye exam. 

 

 

Other signs of a cataract can include:

  • You need better lighting for reading. Does small print feel like it’s getting smaller? Or does it seem like your eyes get particularly fatigued after trying to read by the light of your dim bedside lamp? One of the effects of a cataract is that your contrast sensitivity deteriorates. This means that your ability to discern fainter details against a background is declining. Bright lighting can help to improve the contrast and make text appear bolder against the page. Other activities you might find becoming more difficult in poor ambient lighting include sewing or navigating uneven ground.
  • You avoid driving at night. While deteriorating contrast vision can influence your confidence when driving at night, increasing glare sensitivity from your developing cataracts will also make things more difficult. The opacities in the lens scatter light particles as they enter the eye, which we then perceive as glare. You may find this increased glare sensitivity makes you particularly uncomfortable when you’re faced with oncoming car headlights on the road. Furthermore, in low light, our pupils dilate, which increases the sensation of glare. Other situations where you may notice yourself squinting include when reading neon or LED signage at night, or when you’re reading off a digital device. The backlit nature of a screen that has been turned up too brightly can also induce glare. 
  • Your glasses or contact lens prescription is shifting rapidly. As a cataract develops, it can change the refractive index of the lens, which alters your prescription. Although some small shift to a prescription is natural even without the presence of cataracts, advancing cataracts can cause your script to change significantly and in a relatively short period of time. This shift can be in any direction – you could become more short-sighted or more long-sighted. You may even develop astigmatism. In many situations, you can improve your vision by simply updating your glasses. However, some people find that their prescription changes so often and so quickly that it becomes too expensive to keep pace with the frequent updates. In this case, cataract surgery is often the better option. 

You can expect these cataract signs to develop very slowly over time. The gradual progression makes it difficult to notice these changes to your vision.

recognising cataract condition melbourneIt’s important to note that the signs of a normal age-related cataract never include pain or sudden loss of vision. There is never a redness or inflammation associated with a typical cataract, nor discharge from the eye. The exception to this is in the rare case of a hypermature cataract – one that has been left unattended for too long.

Uncommonly, a hypermature cataract may suddenly rupture, resulting in an inflammatory reaction inside the eye known as uveitis. Hypermature cataracts are very rarely seen in the Australian healthcare system; they are more commonly found in developing countries due to poor access to eye care and cataract surgery

 

Cataract Surgery

In the early days of your cataract development, it’s usually not necessary to undergo cataract surgery. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will be able to assess your vision and discuss the impact of cataracts on your daily tasks with you. For mild to moderate cataracts, you may be satisfied with making some simple modifications to make your activities easier, rather than going for cataract surgery straightaway. For example, using task lighting for reading, updating your glasses, or reducing the brightness of your computer screen. 

Once you feel that the cataracts are becoming more bothersome, you can ask to be referred for cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective day procedure. It involves the extraction of your cataract, replacing it with a clear implant. This implant is typically calculated to correct your eye’s prescription, meaning you can reduce your dependency on glasses. 

The health of the lens is always assessed during your routine eye tests. Your eye care professional will be able to tell you if you’re developing a cataract. 

Call us now on (03) 9070 3580.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

 

 

References

Cataracts.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/syc-20353790

Morgagnian cataract.
https://eyewiki.aao.org/Morgagnian_Cataract

 

 

 

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