If you have symptoms of clouded, blurred or dim vision, increasing difficulty with vision at night, for instance when driving, or sensitivity to light or glare in bright lights, you may well have a cataract symptoms. If you are finding that you need a brighter light to read or do other activities, this can also represent the early signs of a cataract. If you see halos around lights, this can represent an early cataract or glaucoma. If you find you are suddenly, after the age of 50, having lots of frequent changes of your glasses or contact lens prescription, this could be presbyopia which is age-related difficulty in reading due to lens stiffness, or it could be a cataract. If you notice that colours do not look as bright as they used to, you might have a cataract. If you think that your coloured clothes are fading or yellowing, then this could mean that you have got a cataract. If you are getting monocular (double vision) in a single eye this could be because of cataract in that eye. However, at first the cloudiness in your vision may only affect a small part of cataract, and only be detected by a sophisticated imaging machine. You may not notice the slight blurring, but as the cataract grows it will cloud and distort your vision more. The light passing through your lens does not reach your retina uniformly, and you perceive this as cloudiness, blurring, photosensitivity, halos around lights and distortion of images plus blanching of colours. You should, therefore, see a specialist ophthalmologist in cataract and glaucoma if you have any of the symptoms that I have discussed above. Although these symptoms can have a variety of causes, cataract is very common, and we consider a cataract as the number one culprit of why your vision is not as good as it used to be.
A particular case of a patient with cataract symptoms
I want to tell you about a patient I saw this week. The patient was aged 65 years old and healthy. He had mild problems reading at night in bed and an eye examination showed a tiny black speck through the pupil. I told him that this was possibly the seed of a future cataract. His symptoms were so mild and intermittent, and it maybe 10, 15 or 20 years before his vision is actually affected so that he notices it subjectively. He was shocked initially, but that is very natural because we are all exposed to so many risk factors for cataract such as ultraviolet light, including ageing, that it becomes invariable that with increasing age, we will all get some degree of cataract. At the end of the consultation, he felt relieved and reassured. The risk factors that we are exposed to day by day include ultraviolet light, upset of glucose metabolism with diabetes, smoking, hypertension etc. You should make an appointment for an eye examination if you notice any changes in your vision. Miss Laura Crawley and Mr Jaheed Khan are the Consultant Cataract Surgeons at Clinica London who can do your cataract surgery. They will do your assessment here at Clinica London, and then the nurse measures the eye for an intraocular lens. They will do your cataract surgery at the London Clinic where they have admitting rights, and then the follow-up will be back here at Clinica London. We tell you more about the assessment in the next blog post.