Cataract symptoms are relatively difficult to identify at first, as the condition is one which starts slowly and then develops over time, until it reaches the point where the sight of the patient is being severely affected.
At this point, the opacity should have become hardened to the extent that it will be removable by surgical operation, even if that operation is to be carried out using traditional techniques. The condition is usually successfully treated by surgical operation, and thousands of elderly people every year regain their vision through these successful operations.
The symptoms of cataract are likely to be very mild at first, so mild that they can be easily confused with just a short term focus or tiredness problem. The most common symptom is that of glare, of anything which normally creates a bright light being just too powerful, needing you to close your eyes or look away.
A similar related symptom is reduced night vision, and these can easily be experienced together. A reinforcing symptom which often occurs is that of double vision, or of multiple blurred images in one or both eyes. These reflections are caused by the developing opacity as it first becomes large enough to redirect light.
As the condition progresses there is likely to be a change in symptoms, with some getting worse and other disappearing altogether. This does not mean that the condition is improving, far from it, but what it does mean is that the opacity is becoming larger and more able to deflect light.
The multiple images will reduce because there is no longer any potential to deflect light into the same tightly defined area of the lens. As the opacity becomes larger, there will be an increased potential for it to blur the vision, and there can even be a brownish tint to everything which is seen.
These advanced cataract symptoms are the signs that the condition will almost certainly need to be operated upon, although there are other possibilities which can be tried. The simplest of these are the treatments recommended by practitioners of natural medicine, such as improved diet, regular exercise and the intake of antioxidant supplements.
Scientific tests into these methods are not finding a lot of hope or good news, but so far these tests have been strictly limited. There are also new forms of eye drops which are showing definite potential as alternative treatments for cataract.
Usually, though, the symptoms will get worse until the eyesight is severely affected. At this point, whatever risks are involved in the operation have to be worth taking as the patient will be effectively blind if nothing is done. Cataract operations have been performed millions of times and have been developed to a very high level of sophistication.
Most of the world still uses the old traditional method, but the developed countries are increasingly turning to phacoemulsification. This method uses smaller incisions, less anesthetic, and has a shorter recovery time. It is nearly always enough to get the job done, but there are one or two potential problems to watch out for.
Some of the cataract symptoms may return at any time after the operation. This is known as after cataract, and is caused by the eye tissue surrounding the new lens becoming cloudy. It has to be treated with laser surgery, but there are rarely any complications which can cause any permanent loss of vision.
If you have had cataract surgery it is essential that you bear this possibility in mind, because if you are not aware of it you could be seriously worried. You could think that you had developed another cataract and that these were cataract symptoms.