Early Signs of Cataracts in Your Aging Parents & How to Help

A woman puts her hands on the shoulders of an older smiling man

Part of caring for an aging parent is ensuring their safety as their bodies, and especially their eyesight, changes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that about half of Americans have cataracts in one or both eyes by the age of 75. That is more than 24.4 million people in the U.S. In turn, how can adult children tell when their parents have become one of the 24.4 million with cataracts?

What are Cataracts?

In the middle of the eye is a lens that focuses light onto the retina. The brain interprets that light to create what you see. Over time, protein can build up on the lens in one or both eyes. As the buildup increases, the lens becomes cloudy and is unable to focus light onto the retina clearly and vision is affected.

Warning Signs of Cataracts

Cataracts appear slowly, making them hard to detect. There are early signs that can indicate cataracts formation, though.

Blurry Vision

Most of the time blurry vision is a gradual problem, one even your parent might not recognize. In fact, for individuals with pre-existing eye problems like nearsightedness, the vision might seem to improve when cataracts develop. However, their vision will decline further as the disease progresses.

Light Sensitivity

Light sensitivity is simply a glare on the dirty surface of the lens. If you are standing near your car and the sun hits a dirty spot on the windshield, the light bounces off the glass. That is very similar to what happens with cataracts.

Light sensitivity can be misread by parents who experience it. They might believe the day is just bright or assume it is a normal part of aging when in fact, it is a warning sign of developing cataracts.

Visual Artifacts

Cataracts may lead to visual artifacts. For example, there may appear to be halos around light sources like a lamp or reflection. This can also lead to problems driving.

Problems With Certain Colors

The clouded lens can often have a yellowing tint to it that makes certain colors hard to distinguish like blue or purple. Purple will look reddish or brown to someone with cataracts.

Changes in Eyeglass Prescriptions

If that yearly visit to the eye doctor requires a new prescription each time your parent goes, it may be a sign that the lens is becoming cloudy in one or both eyes. This is a good time to encourage your loved ones to go for a comprehensive eye exam.

Increasingly Poor Night Vision

Your parents avoid driving at night. Eyes with cataracts have problems focusing light, so night vision can become virtually nonexistent. Driving at night triggers light sensitivity, as well, when cars with their headlights on pass by which can lead to pain in the eyes and distraction from the road.

If you suspect your parent or loved one may have cataracts, call Florida Eye Specialists today. With eight convenient locations around Jacksonville, Saint Augustine and Palatka and the largest team of cataract surgeons in the region, the team at Florida Eye Specialists is ready to help restore vision for you or your loved ones. Work directly with our Cataracts Concierge, who will be available to answer any questions as well as provide support and guidance through the cataract surgery process. Contact us today to begin your journey for better vision.