How to Spot Cataracts Early So You Can Safeguard Your Sight

According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in Canada, with more than 3.5 million Canadians experiencing vision loss because of them. Here's what you need to be on the lookout for so you can catch cataracts early and safeguard your vision. 

The leading cause of preventable vision loss in the world, cataracts are typically associated with older individuals. While it's true that around half of those over the age of 75 in North America have a cataract, even people who are as young as 40 can begin to have them develop within their eyes.

This is why it is crucial to know the early signs and symptoms of cataracts so you can start receiving treatment from your optometrist right away should one begin to form.

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Specs in the City Optometry provides children, adult, and senior eye exams in SE Calgary to help safeguard your sight and overall ocular health. Our experienced optometrists use the latest technology to quickly and accurately diagnose any eye conditions you may be suffering from, so treatment may commence right away. Contact us today to book your eye exam or cataract screening assessment, and let us help you continue to see clearly and comfortably!

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What Exactly Is a Cataract?

The natural ageing process brings with it many difficult challenges. Former French president Charles de Gaulle was fond of saying "Old age is a shipwreck" in his later years, a reference to the physical and mental toll time takes on us all. One such physical toll is the development of cataracts, a gradual clouding of the eye lens.

Where once the lens was clear, it now becomes hardened and yellowed, clouding along the way. This opaque formation over the lens is what we know as a cataract. Cataracts may develop in only one eye or both, but no more than one cataract per eye may form, and they cannot spread from one of your eyes to the other.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts

Cataracts vary in terms of their development and severity. Depending on the type and stage your cataract has progressed to, the treatment options available to you and the prescribed course of treatment from your optometrist will differ. When it comes to spotting a cataract early though, here are some of the first signs and symptoms associated with this eye condition:

Cloudy vision: Perhaps the most distinguishable or tell-tale early symptom of a cataract would be the cloudy vision they can cause. Generally described as fuzzy spots in the vision of those with this symptom, they tend to start off small and grow over time. As they continue to cloud your vision, your daily tasks may become more difficult or impossible to complete. Should you suddenly experience very persistent and debilitating cloudy vision, be sure to see your optometrist right away before your sight gets any worse.

Trouble seeing at night: Those who have early-stage cataracts often note that their nighttime vision begins to get gradually worse. This is due to the fact that a cataract typically causes someone's vision to dim or darken, the effects of which are not easily discernible during the day as the additional light helps to counteract the problem. However, at night these changes become very noticeable.

Increased light sensitivity: Those who are experiencing the early stages of cataract development tend to find that their eyes become increasingly uncomfortable and sensitive to bright lights. Should you start to notice that bright lights are beginning to cause you to squint your eyes or close them, contact your eye doctor immediately to book a comprehensive eye exam.

Halos and glare begin appearing: What appear to be halos or glare may begin to crop up in the vision of those suffering from cataracts. This is due to the eye lens hardening and becoming clouded, which causes the light passing through the cataract to become diffracted. These halos or rings around bright lights may not be very noticeable during the day but will be at night.

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How to Slow Down the Progression of a Cataract

Aside from cataract surgery, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the effects of a cataract. But that doesn't mean there aren't measures and steps you can take to slow down the development of one. Some of the best ways you can slow down the progression of a cataract include:

  • Eating a healthy diet full of leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Wearing sunglasses or hats to shield your eyes from the sun
  • Speaking with your optometrist to make sure no other eye drops you're taking for arthritis or dry eyes are potentially speeding up the progression of your cataract
  • Conducting annual comprehensive eye exams to ensure your ocular health remains optimal and any diseases or conditions are caught early

Contact Us Today

If you're worried about developing a cataract or experiencing any of the early signs and symptoms of one, Specs in the City Optometry has you covered. Simply give us a call at 403-252-2020 or fill out our online contact form to book your comprehensive eye exam today and let us help safeguard your sight for years to come.

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