The diagnosis of cataract is usually made when the patient begins to notice changes in his or her vision and consults an eye specialist. In contrast to certain types of glaucoma, there is no pain associated with the development of cataracts. The specific changes in the patient's vision depend on the type and location of the cataract. Nuclear cataracts typically produce symptoms known as myopic shift (in nearsighted patients) and second sight (in farsighted patients). What these terms mean is that the nearsighted person becomes more nearsighted while the farsighted person's near vision improves to the point that there is less need for reading glasses. Cortical and posterior subcapsular cataracts typically reduce visual acuity; in addition, the patient may also complain of increased glare in bright daylight or glare from the headlights of oncoming cars at night.
Q: I was diagnosed as having a premature development of a cataract in my left eye. The symptoms were discomfort on a sunny day and a feeling that there was something in my eye. No pain, just something there. The ophthalmologist gave me a thorough exam and the diagnosis stated above. He said my right eye had the beginning of one, but it has not been noticed. Besides surgery, are there glasses I could wear or drops that would make it clearer? I also see halos around lights when driving at night. This has been causing me anxiety and of course a fear that it will progress quickly. What course of treatment should I take? The symptoms have been noticeable for about four weeks. .
The second major complication is a steroid related rise in eye pressure, also known as being a "steroid responder". This usually requires at least 2 weeks of continuous steroid use, and is reversible if the steroid is discontinued. The rise in pressure can be very high but if often asymptomatic. It may be more common in people already being treated for glaucoma. If a person has glaucoma or has a history of steroid related eye pressure problems, they should consult with an ophthalmologist for monitoring of eye pressure if steroid treatment is being contemplated.