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Q: What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Posted July 02, 2014 in Advice Column, Johnston

A: Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older, and Dr. Matthew Howie, therapeutic optometrist, 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.”

Symptoms of cataracts may include “cloudy” vision, sensitivity to bright sunlight, “halos” that appear around headlights at night and colors that appear faded. The most common cataracts are age-related, according to Dr. Howie.

Cataract surgery is the most common form of surgery in the United States, with more than 1.5 million procedures every year, Dr. Howie  says. But surgery is not the first option for anyone with a cataract.

“We can manage some of the symptoms of cataracts in the early stages with sunglasses or eyeglasses with anti-reflective lenses,” Dr. Howie says. “But when the cataract interferes with daily activities, it’s time to consider surgery.”

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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