Published: Feb. 24, 2012
Updated: June 13, 2012
Cataracts are a clouding of the normally clear crystalline lens as a result of the normal aging process, metabolic changes, or even certain medications.
Cataracts impair vision by preventing light from being accurately focused on the retina.
There are many symptoms of cataracts, including:
1. Clumps of protein reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.
The lens consists mostly of water and protein. When the protein clumps up, it clouds the lens and reduces the light that reaches the retina. The clouding may become severe enough to cause symptoms including blurred vision. Most age-related cataracts develop from altered lens protein.
When a cataract is small, the cloudiness affects only a small part of the lens. You may not notice any changes in your vision. Cataracts tend to “grow” slowly, so vision gets worse gradually. Over time, the cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size. Seeing may become more difficult. Your vision may get duller or blurrier.
2. The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision.
As the clear lens slowly colors with age, your vision gradually may acquire a brownish shade. At first, the amount of tinting may be small and may not cause a vision problem. Over time, increased tinting may make it more difficult to read and perform other routine activities. This gradual change in the amount of tinting does not affect the sharpness of the image transmitted to the retina.
If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and purples. You may be wearing what you believe to be a pair of black socks, only to find out from friends that you are wearing purple socks.
Call 888-ASK-DUKE (888-275-3853) to learn more about premium lens replacement, astigmatism correcting lenses, and traditional lenses at one of Duke Eye Center’s Durham, Raleigh, Cary, or Winston-Salem North Carolina offices.