• Cataract Symptoms

    Written by: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed by: Elena M Jimenez MD
    Jun. 11, 2014

    Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. As a result, you may not notice signs or changes in your vision right away when cataracts first develop.

    Cataract symptom progression

    Your vision can be dulled or
    yellowed from cataracts.
    Blurry or dim vision is a
    symptom of cataracts.
    If you have cataracts, you may
    experience distortion or ghost
    images in your vision.
    • Painless cloudy, blurry or dim vision
    • More difficulty seeing at night or in low light
    • Sensitivity to light and glare
    • Seeing halos around lights
    • Faded or yellowed colors
    • The need for brighter light for reading and other activities
    • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
    • Double vision within one eye

    See a simulation of what vision with cataract looks like.

    The only way to know for certain if you have cataracts is to have a dilated eye exam (where your pupil is widened with eye drops). Your ophthalmologist can detect early signs of cataract development by looking at your eye's lens.

    Get a baseline exam at age 40 when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will let you know how often you should return for follow-up exams. At any point, if you have symptoms or risks for eye disease, see your Eye M.D. Because your risk for cataracts and other eye diseases increases as you get older, starting at age 65 you should see your Eye M.D. every year. A complete eye examination will rule out any other condition that may be causing blurred vision or eye problems. Early detection and treatment of cataracts is critical to preserving sight.