What Happens To The Eye When You Have A Cataract?

What Happens To The Eye When You Have A Cataract?

Smiling older woman reclining on couch in living room

Cataracts are a common affliction, especially for the older population. Over 24 million Americans suffer from cataracts, and the number is only rising. How does something so widespread work?

Cataracts are not some disease that you can easily avoid. In fact, cataracts affect everybody.

They are caused when proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down. Normally, these proteins are arranged in a precise way.

This allows light to pass through them, making the lens transparent. But when the lens proteins break down, they clump together and the lens becomes cloudy.

Light stops being able to pass through, which can cause many different symptoms. Keep reading to find out what happens to the eye when you have a cataract!

Cataract Symptoms

The most common cataract symptom is blurriness and dimness to your vision. This is of course due to your lens becoming cloudy.

This diffuses the light that enters your eyes. Other symptoms include:

  • Faded colors or seeing things with a yellow tint. Cataracts themselves can become yellow which can reduce contrast in your vision.
  • Difficulty seeing at night. When the light becomes unable to enter your eyes, it makes it harder to see in low light. This makes it especially hard to see at night, like when you’re driving.
  • Halos or other vision aberrations. You may experience distracting symptoms like rings around lights or double vision.
  • Glare. Certain kinds of cataracts can cause you to become more light-sensitive.

The 3 Types of Cataracts

Not all cataracts are created equal. Where and how they grow inside of the lens matters. They may produce different symptoms altogether.

Cortical Cataracts

Cataracts that produce glare the most are cortical cataracts. These cataracts grow around the perimeter of the lens.

They cause large spoke-like clefts to form in the lens that point to the center. These fissures cause light to scatter, intensifying it, which is what creates glare.

Cortical cataracts are not as common as another kind of cataract. A more common kind of cataract is a nuclear sclerotic cataract.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

These cataracts grow in the center of the lens and produce the more common symptoms of cataracts. They may also cause a unique symptom known as “second sight”.

With second sight, vision temporarily becomes better than normal. This is because the lens may become slightly swollen from the cataract.

It causes light to refract differently into the eye. It is still clear enough for light to pass through.

But the benefit is short-lived. Vision will only worsen as the cataract matures and becomes cloudier. Nuclear sclerotic cataracts grow very slowly.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

The fastest-growing cataracts are posterior subcapsular cataracts. These form beneath the capsule membrane that holds the cataract in place.

They can also create glare and are also known to produce the halo effect.

Whatever kind of cataract you need to deal with, Westlake Eye Specialists can help. Cataract surgery is safe and effective, so there’s no reason to suffer from the symptoms of cataracts any longer!

Schedule a cataract screening at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX and get control of your vision again!