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Q: What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Posted June 18, 2014 in Advice Column, Grimes

A: Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older. Dr. Matthew Howie encourages everyone to be aware of the symptoms of cataracts, for the sake of their vision or for someone they know.

“A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye,” Dr. Howie explains. “They tend to grow gradually, so changes in vision may not be noticeable at first.”

Dr. Howie says that some symptoms of cataracts include cloudy vision, sensitivity to bright sunlight, halos appear around headlights and colors appear faded. The most common cataracts are age-related, according to Dr Howie.

“By age 80, almost half the population either has a cataract or has had a cataract surgically removed,” Dr. Howie says. “We can manage some of the symptoms of cataracts in the early stages with sunglasses or eyeglasses with anti-reflective lenses. When the cataract interferes with daily activities such as reading or driving, it’s time to consider surgery. As with any eye disease, early detection and treatment are the keys to successful management of cataracts. The first step is an annual comprehensive eye examination, especially for persons over 60 years of age.”

Information provided by Dr. Matthew Howie, O.D., Total Family Eye Care, 1451 S.E. Third St., Suite 400, Grimes, 986-1234,,

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