Cataracts don’t only affect older people. They're more likely to develop as a person ages. But other factors can increase the risk of getting foggy vision and other symptoms of cataracts sooner.
A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens of the eye. It can make it harder to see. It's like looking through a fogged-up window. Cataracts won’t impact your eyesight right away. They tend to affect your vision over time as they progress.
Cataract Risk Factors
We don’t know the exact cause of cataracts. Age is the biggest risk factor. But there are other risk factors that make it more likely you’ll develop cataracts at a younger age. They include:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Poor nutrition
- Eye injury
- Taking corticosteroids
- Radiation exposure
You can’t control all risk factors for cataracts. But healthy lifestyle habits may help keep you from getting cataracts early.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Since cataracts are slow to develop, it may be difficult to know if you have them. Foggy vision may not be noticeable, or it may only affect a small part of the eye’s lens. Over time, vision loss and other symptoms may become more obvious.
Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Clouded or blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing in the dark, especially when driving
- Needing more light to see, especially when reading
- Sensitivity to light
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Noticing colors seem more faded or dim
- Double vision in only one eye
- Frequent changes in vision prescriptions
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s best to see an eye doctor for a professional evaluation. UVA Health specialists perform a complete eye exam to detect cataracts. They also check the health of your eyes.
Don't Lose Sight of Your Eye Health
See a specialist if you have any concerns about your vision.
Treatment for Cataracts
The only way to treat cataracts is cataract surgery. During this outpatient surgery, doctors remove the clouded lens of the eye. They replace it with an artificial lens. Doctors recommend surgery only if your cataracts affect your vision and quality of life. You may not need treatment if your cataracts cause minimal symptoms and are slow to progress.