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Cataracts (cont.)

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What are risk factors for cataracts?

Advanced age is a significant risk factor for the development of cataracts. A family history for early development of cataracts, the presence of diabetes, tobacco use, and prolonged exposure to sunlight are also risk factors.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

You may not notice any symptoms with early cataracts. As a cataract becomes more advanced, decrease in clarity of vision, not fully correctable with glasses, is noticed. There is a loss of contrast sensitivity, so that shadows and color vision are less vivid. Disturbing glare may be noted as light is into the eye scattered by the cataract. Haloes may be observed around lights. Night vision will be diminished. In certain types of cataracts, double vision may be noted in the affected eye. Some patients note that they require frequent changes in their eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions and may be aware that their near vision is improving as their distance vision declines.

A cataract does not routinely cause discomfort or pain in the eye or alter the external appearance of the eye

What are the signs of cataracts?

Family members of a person affected by cataracts in both eyes may notice he or she appears not to be seeing as well as previously. The eye will appear normal to the untrained observer, unless the cataract is mature and white. In that situation the pupil of the eye, which normally appears black, will look grey or white to the observer.

The examining physician will find diminished visual acuity in the affected eye or eyes. This visual loss is not fully corrected by a change in the glasses. The lens of the eye can be easily examined by an ophthalmologist and the changes in the lens characteristic of cataract can actually be seen using a slit lamp, which is an illuminating and magnifying device used to painlessly examine the structures within the front of the eye, including the lens.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/13/2013

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/cataracts/article.htm

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