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Q: What are the typical symptoms of cataracts, and when should I see a doctor if I think I have cataracts?

A: Cataract is when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is basically a bag of protein. It's shaped like an M&M candy and sits just behind the colored part of the eye (the iris). If someone has an advanced cataract, one can even see the clouding with the naked eye if they look cloudy white or brownish-yellow. Typically cataracts cause blurry vision. They can also cause glare, which is like the blinding effect of looking through a dirty windshield on a sunny day.

Often when cataracts are starting to develop, the vision gets blurry, but can still be corrected with new glasses. Usually during this phase people get more near-sighted and sometimes even find that they no 1onger need their reading glasses. Sadly this is temporary. The cataracts continue to develop and eventually will need to be removed in order to restore vision.

You should see your doctor if you are concerned about blurry vision. Typically, he or she will check your vision, and see if glasses might help. If not, then the question is, "Why not?" That is answered by performing a detailed examination of the eye.

Hall T. McGee, M.D.

Hall T. McGee, M.D., Everett & Hurite Ophthalmic Association, can be reached at (412) 288-0885 or mcgeeh@gmail.com

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