Does your vision seem blurry, foggy, or like it’s suddenly worsening over time? These are some signs of cataracts, a common age-related eye condition almost everyone will encounter. At the Eye Center of St. Augustine, we’re here to help from diagnosis until removal during cataract surgery.

What is a Cataract?

Cataracts occur when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy due to proteins on the lens breaking down. These proteins will start to clump together in the middle of the natural lens when you have a cataract, impacting your ability to see well.

People with cataracts often say it feels like looking at the world through a foggy or dirty window. As a cataract continues to develop, these symptoms only worsen, making it more challenging to see the world around you.

The most common cause of cataracts is getting older, although it’s not the only reason you can develop cataracts. The only way to know you have cataracts is to schedule a cataract screening with the talented ophthalmologists at the Eye Center of St. Augustine.

What are the Symptoms of Having a Cataract?

Cataract Symptoms Checker

If you have cataracts, you may not realize it at first. There are many symptoms associated with cataracts, including:

  • Blurry vision, like looking through a foggy or dirty window
  • Experiencing double vision in only one eye
  • Seeing glare or halos around light sources
  • Finding it far more challenging to drive at night safely
  • Experiencing light sensitivity
  • Noticing colors are no longer vibrant or bright
  • Needing more light to complete detail-oriented tasks
  • Noticing you need more frequent prescription changes for your glasses or contact lenses
  • Feeling like you injure yourself more due to your impaired vision

Because there are so many symptoms of cataracts, it’s necessary to determine their root cause. See your eye doctor, who can help you determine what’s causing your symptoms. 

These are not exclusive to cataracts and can be signs of other eye conditions. Once you know what’s causing your visual symptoms, you can devise a treatment plan. 

If you have cataracts, your ophthalmologist will monitor their development. 

What Causes Cataracts?

Although cataracts are usually an age-related eye condition, they can develop for other reasons. These may include:

  • Having a family history of cataracts, especially parents or siblings with the eye condition
  • Being a smoker
  • If you’ve spent a great deal of time in the sun and didn’t wear proper eye protection against damaging UV rays from the sun, like sunglasses with UV protection or a wide-brimmed hat
  • If you have certain medical conditions like diabetes, which can increase your risk of developing cataracts
  • If you’ve previously had an eye injury, surgery on your eye, or radiation treatment on your upper body
  • Long-term use of medications like corticosteroids, which may lead to the early formation of cataracts in some patients

If you have age-related cataracts, they typically progress very slowly. You may start developing them as early as your forties without realizing you have them.

It can take years or even decades for cataracts to finish forming. However, in most people, once they become more advanced, this is when they begin impacting the ability to see.

If you don’t have age-related cataracts, they may develop more quickly. 

Are You a Good Candidate for Cataract Surgery?

Take our cataract self-test to find out.

Can I Do Anything to Prevent Cataracts?

Although there is no way to guarantee you’ll never have cataracts, there are things you can do to slow down their development. You may also be able to reduce your chances of developing cataracts at a younger age. 

Try the following tips

Eat Healthier

Sticking to a diet high in fruits and vegetables is an excellent start. Reduce processed foods as much as possible and increase your intake of things like omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be good for your eyes. 

You can get more omega-3 fatty acids by eating more fatty fish like salmon and tuna and walnuts and flax seeds.

Exercise More

Staying active is another way to keep your eyes healthy. Whether it’s walking, biking, or running, some form of exercise several times a year can make a significant difference in keeping you and your eyes in shape.

Protect Your Eyes in the Sun

The final piece of the puzzle involves protecting your eyes from the sun. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause more damage than you realize to your eyes whenever you go outside. 

Make sure you wear sunglasses that provide 99% UVA and UVB protection from the sun. You can find this information on your sunglasses if they have it. If they don’t, find a better pair to give you the protection you need.

By sticking to a healthier lifestyle and protecting your eyes, you can do your part to reduce your risk of developing cataracts at an earlier age. There’s no guarantee that you won’t have cataracts later in life, but your eyes will be healthier and able to help you see the world around you for longer.

How Do I Know I Need Cataract Surgery?

If you discover you have cataracts, you may think you need cataract surgery immediately. But this is not usually the case for most cataract patients.

After receiving a cataract diagnosis from your Eye Center of St. Augustine ophthalmologist, it may be several years before you need cataract surgery. You may wonder how to know when you need cataract surgery.

Most cataract surgeons recommend the procedure once cataracts make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Do you find it challenging to cook dinner for yourself? 

Can you no longer do chores like laundry or cleaning your house because your vision is too impaired? These are some signs that it may be time to consider having cataract surgery. 

Cataract surgery will help you regain your independence and clear vision if you can no longer participate in your favorite hobbies because of your eyesight.

Do you want to learn more about cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at the Eye Center of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, FL, now!

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