Cataract Symptoms and Diagnosis

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

    Cloudy or blurry vision.
    Colors seem faded.
    Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
    Poor night vision.
    Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
    Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional.

There are other types of cataract:

Secondary cataract. Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma. Cataracts also can develop in people who have other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.

Traumatic cataract. Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.

Congenital cataract. Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These cataracts may be so small that they do not affect vision. If they do, the lenses may need to be removed.

Radiation cataract. Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.

A cataract is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam that includes:

    Visual acuity test. This eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances.

    Dilated eye exam. Drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain blurred for several hours.

    Tonometry. An instrument measures the pressure inside the eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

Your eye care professional also may do other tests to learn more about the structure and health of your eye.

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