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20 Apr 2023

Signs of Cataracts: How Do I Know If I Have a Cataract?

Signs of Cataracts: How Do I Know If I Have a Cataract?

If you’re looking to understand the signs of cataracts, we can help.  Cataracts are a common condition that can affect anyone, but they’re prevalent in older adults. If you’re over 40, an avid reader and are having to squint to see the words, or are having trouble seeing far-away objects, you may have developed cataracts.

According to Medibank, 700,000 people are now living with cataracts in Australia. The good news is that most cataract surgeries are straightforward procedures and can improve vision and quality of life.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye that occurs when lens proteins lose their transparency. This protein then makes it hard for light to pass through the lens and focus on your retina. Over time, cataracts can develop in one or both eyes but cannot spread from one eye to another.

What are the first signs of cataracts?

If you have trouble reading small print or seeing objects far away, you may need an eye exam from your doctor or vision specialist. They’ll examine your eyes using special equipment, which allows them to see inside your eyes and determine if there are any problems with your eyesight or if you’re seeing the first signs of cataracts.

What are some cataract symptoms?

Cataract symptoms can include:
– Blurry vision or trouble seeing things up close;
– Colours looking faded or washed out;
– Sudden changes in your ability to see at night (night blindness);
– Double vision (diplopia), which means you see two images instead of one.

Types of cataracts

There are different types of cataracts. The most common type is an age-related cataract that develops slowly over the years, usually starting in your early 40s, and will progress if left untreated. It affects about half of all people over age 65.

Posterior Subcapsular

This type of cataract forms in front of the retina, behind your lens. It’s usually congenitally pre-disposed or found in people who have diabetes or take steroid medications. It commonly presents younger.


The lens slowly becomes more yellow and dense. The visual reduction commonly creeps up on you. It’s usually associated with ageing and is more common in people over age 60.


White spoke-like opacities develop within the lens, commonly younger than in nuclear cataracts. They can cause glare sensitivity as well as blurred vision.
Cortical cataracts can be associated with diabetes or steroid use, but they can also be caused by trauma to your eye.


Congenital cataracts are cataracts present at birth. They can affect one or both eyes and can be present in children of any age. Congenital cataracts are often inherited, but not always. In some cases, they may develop because of other genetic conditions or infections during pregnancy that may have damaged the developing eye structure.

Risk Factors

Cataracts are more common among certain people. Those who have certain risk factors may be at higher risk of developing cataracts than others.

Age: As you get older, the proteins in your lens break down, making them less transparent and more likely to develop cataracts.

Family history: If other family members have had cataracts, you may be more likely to develop them.

Gender: Women are at a higher risk of developing cataracts than men are, but this varies by age group and race.

Medical conditions: Certain conditions can increase the risk of developing a cataract, including diabetes and certain types of eye inflammation or injury.

Sun exposure: Exposure to ultraviolet light from sun exposure or tanning beds can also increase your risk of cataracts.


Unfortunately cataracts are inevitable. It comes down to the rate of progression – but did you know that there are things you can do to slow them from forming?

The best way to keep your eyes healthy and prevent cataracts is by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing sunglasses to protect you from UV when you’re outside in the sun.

If you already have cataracts, there are things you can try to help slow down their development. Eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins has been shown to improve eye health and reduce the development of cataracts.

If a healthy diet isn’t enough, talk to your doctor about other options like supplements or surgeries.


When left untreated, a cataract will continue to develop and will progressively cloud your entire lens, making it difficult to see clearly through the affected eye or eyes.

But cataracts are treatable! The first step is to visit your eye doctor for an exam. They can diagnose and treat most types of cataracts, including those that are present at birth or develop later in life.

While there are a number of different treatment options for cataracts, the only effective treatment currently available to cure cataracts is surgery. Freedom Eye Laser offers state of the art technology with premium multifocal intraocular lenses. Dr James Genge has subspecialty Fellowship training in refractive surgery and vast experience using the most advanced optics.

Another option is to use glasses and contact lenses to correct vision. This may be a good option for people with only one eye affected by cataracts or those who want to have their vision as clear as possible without undergoing surgery, although the lens clouding will limit how well this can improve them.

Surgical Intervention

The surgery is very safe and generally does not induce any pain. Through a tiny 2mm peripheral corneal incision the natural lens capsule is carefully opened, the cloudy contents removed, and the capsule maintained to hold the new artificial lens inside it.


Vision is our most precious sense, so it’s important to take a proactive approach toward your eye health. One of the differences in treatment with Freedom Eye Laser is our investment in developing individualised care for each patient. Dr Genge will assess you and your specific needs before giving you treatment options. We encourage you to do your research and be aware of the different approaches so you can make the most informed decision.

Well over 90% of our patients are referred by friends and family who are thrilled with their procedure and outcomes.

If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment, get in touch.

Make sure that both you and your loved ones are getting the annual eye exams you need to keep your eyes healthy long into the future.