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Symptoms of Cataracts

As a cataract develops, you may or may not notice changes in your vision. Cataracts tend to develop slowly, so vision gets worse gradually. Because the change is gradual, many people do not realize that they are losing vision. Some people with a cataract find that their close-up vision improves as the cataract matures, but this is just temporary. Vision worsens as the cataract matures.

Symptoms may include:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Colors seem faded or images appear with a yellow tint
  • Poor contrast
  • Poor night vision
  • Difficulty reading
  • Double or multiple vision (this symptom often goes away as the cataract matures)
  • Increased nearsightedness, requiring frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Problems with light, including:
    • Headlights that seem too bright at night
    • Glare from lamps or very bright sunlight
    • A halo around lights
    • Trying to read in bright light
    • Problems when moving from a dark area to a bright area
  • In rare cases, a cataract may cause an acute glaucoma attack.

These symptoms can also be signs of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, see your ophthalmologist immediately.

Revision Information

  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu.

  • The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.

  • National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov.