2020–2021 BCSC Basic and Clinical Science Course™
11 Lens and Cataract
Chapter 6: Evaluation and Management of Cataracts
Clinical History: Signs and Symptoms
Glare and Altered Contrast Sensitivity
Cataract patients often report an increase in glare, which may vary from increased photosensitivity in brightly lit environments to disabling glare in the daytime or with headlights from oncoming cars. Shorter wavelengths of light cause the most scatter; the color, intensity, and direction of lighting also affect glare. This increased sensitivity is particularly prominent in eyes with PSCs and, occasionally, with anterior cortical lens changes.
Contrast sensitivity is the ability to detect subtle variations in shading. Because patients with ocular abnormalities have altered contrast sensitivity in low light, measurement of contrast sensitivity may provide a more comprehensive estimate of the visual resolution of the eye. A significant loss in contrast sensitivity may occur without a similar loss in Snellen acuity. However, loss in contrast sensitivity is not a specific indicator of vision loss due to cataract.
Table 6-1 Characteristics and Effects of the Most Common Cataracts in Adults
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 11 - Lens and Cataract. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.