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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Symptoms of Cataracts

Early signs of cataracts include blurred or cloudy vision; frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions; night glare and hazy vision; and colors that seem to fade. An ophthalmologist must determine if these symptoms are really caused by a cataract or by some other eye problem that may need treatment.

For an adult, a cataract should be removed only when it interferes with lifestyle and makes it difficult to continue normally enjoyable activities. Generally, there is no such thing as a cataract being “ripe” or “not ripe” for removal. What matters is whether or not the problem interferes with vision. In rare instances, a “hyper-mature” cataract may cause elevated eye pressure or inflammation of the eye. In this case, it must be removed immediately. Otherwise, removal of a cataract is at the patient’s discretion.

age-related cataract
A hypermature age-related cortico-nuclear cataract with a brunescent (brown) nucleus.
Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)

Scene viewed with cataract
A scene as it might be viewed by a person with cataract.
Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)