Why Family Medicine is ImportantCataracts are a common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is the leading cause of vision loss among adults over 40 and is responsible for more than half of all cases of blindness globally. Despite its prevalence, many people are unaware that they have cataracts until their symptoms become noticeable.

Our team of experienced ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite is dedicated to helping our patients maintain healthy vision, which is why we offer cutting-edge treatment options for cataracts. But first, let's dive into the early signs and symptoms of cataracts to help you understand if you might be developing this condition.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can result in blurred or distorted vision. This cloudiness is primarily due to the natural aging process, where proteins in the eye break down and clump together over time, obstructing the passage of light to the retina. Cataracts can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired, and certain medical conditions like diabetes or specific medications can also contribute to their development.

Other risk factors that may contribute to the development of cataracts include:

  • Family history of cataracts
  • Prolonged exposure to UV radiation from sunlight
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Trauma to the eye

Individuals with cataracts often struggle with night vision or in low light conditions, experience increased sensitivity to glare, and may notice colors appearing faded or yellowish. These symptoms can make everyday activities like reading, driving, and even recognizing faces more challenging.

Cataracts can occur in one or both eyes and may affect different people at different rates depending on various factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and overall health. Understanding the signs and symptoms of cataracts can help you determine if you may have a cataract and when it's time to seek treatment.

Types of Cataracts

The lens of the eye is made up of layers, including the capsule, cortex, and nucleus. A cataract may develop in any of these areas. There are three main types of cataracts:

  • Nuclear Cataracts

    Nuclear cataracts are the most common type of cataract that forms in the center (nucleus) of the lens. They are primarily age-related and cause the lens to become yellow or brown. Symptoms include blurred vision, difficulty with near vision, and increased sensitivity to glare.

  • Cortical Cataracts

    These form on the edges of the lens (cortex) and appear as white, wedge-shaped opacities. They are often caused by aging, long-term exposure to UV light, certain medications, diabetes, smoking, and genetic factors. Symptoms include glare and halos around lights, affecting color perception.

  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

    Cataracts start forming around age 40 but usually don't cause noticeable vision problems until the 60s. The earliest sign of a cataract includes:

    Develop at the back of the lens beneath the capsule. They can be caused by prolonged use of medications like corticosteroids, radiation exposure, untreated diabetes, myopia, and previous eye surgeries. Symptoms include difficulties in reading, driving, sensitivity to bright light, and halos around lights.

The First Signs of Cataracts

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in low-light conditions
  • Sensitivity to glare and bright lights
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Yellowing or fading of colors
  • Need for brighter light for reading and other activities
  • Seeing 'halos' around lights

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to schedule an eye exam.

How Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

Because cataracts form as a natural part of aging, they can’t be prevented. However, there are steps you can take to delay their development. These include:

  • Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays when outdoors.
  • Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Manage any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes.
  • Regularly schedule comprehensive eye exams.

Cataract Treatment From Everett & Hurite

If your cataracts are mild, our team may recommend a change in prescription glasses or contact lenses to improve vision. However, surgery may be necessary as cataracts progress and significantly impact your vision.

  • Surgical Treatments For Cataracts

    Cataract surgery is safe and has a high success rate with minimal recovery time. At Everett & Hurite, our team can assist you with personalized care for two common surgical treatments for cataracts. These include:

    • Surgical Treatments For Cataracts

      Cataract surgery is safe and has a high success rate with minimal recovery time. At Everett & Hurite, our team can assist you with personalized care for two common surgical treatments for cataracts. These include:

      • Phacoemulsification

        Also called Phaco, this is the most common treatment for cataracts. It uses ultrasound waves to break up the cataract, which is removed through aspiration. An intraocular (IOL) replacement lens is inserted to restore clear vision.

      • Extracapsular Cataract Extraction (ECCE)

        This method is used for treating advanced cataracts. It includes removing the cataract and the lens and replacing them with an artificial lens. It takes about a month to heal fully after the procedure, but vision improvement is rapid in the first day or two after surgery.

    Vision typically improves significantly within 4-6 weeks after surgery, with some patients experiencing better vision within 1-2 weeks or even sooner.

  • Caring for Your Eyes After Cataract Surgery

    Proper post-operative care is essential to ensure a smooth recovery and optimal results. This includes:

    • Avoid rubbing or pressing on your eyes.
    • Using prescribed eye drops as directed to prevent infection and promote healing.
    • Avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for one to two weeks.
    • Wearing an eye shield at night for the first several days after surgery.
    • Attending follow-up appointments with your ophthalmologist as scheduled.
    • Protect your eyes from bright sunlight by wearing sunglasses and a hat outdoors.
    • Reporting any unusual symptoms or concerns to your eye doctor.

Take Charge of Your Eye Health

Cataracts are a common vision problem that occurs as we age. While they cannot be entirely prevented, proper treatment can significantly improve a person's quality of life and restore their vision. If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataracts, we are here to help.

At Everett & Hurite, our team of experienced ophthalmologists is dedicated to providing top-quality care for all your vision needs. With advanced technology and personalized treatments, we strive to help our patients achieve clear vision and maintain healthy eyes.

Your eyes are precious, and taking care of them is crucial. Don't wait until cataracts significantly impact your vision. Schedule an appointment with us today and take charge of your eye health. We look forward to helping you see the world clearly again.


Can cataracts cause permanent blindness if left untreated?

Yes. Without proper treatment, a cataract will continue to progress and eventually result in permanent blindness. Fortunately, cataract surgery can be used to restore clear vision.

What should I expect during cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a quick and painless outpatient procedure that takes around 10-15 minutes per eye. You will be given numbing eye drops and possibly a sedative to help you relax. Our surgeon will use advanced technology to remove the cataract and replace it with an artificial lens, after which you can return home on the same day.

Can cataracts come back after surgery?

No, once the natural cloudy lens is surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens, cataracts cannot recur. However, some patients may experience clouding of the capsule around the new lens, which can cause similar symptoms and require a simple laser procedure to correct.

How long do cataract lenses last?

The artificial lens implanted during cataract surgery can last a lifetime unless any issues or complications arise. If the lens becomes cloudy, a simple laser procedure can be performed to restore clear vision.

Can cataracts be reversed without surgery?

Cataracts cannot be reversed without surgery. Changes in prescription glasses or contact lenses may help improve vision temporarily, but surgery is the only way to remove cataracts and restore clear vision.