Since currently there is no treatment available to slow or prevent the progression of cataracts, regular eye exams can lead to early detection. You also should report any vision changes to your eye doctor, including changes in contrast or color perception.

While cataracts generally cause hazy, blurry, or dim vision, colors can appear faded or yellowed. In some cases, your vision may take on a brownish tint. But once you know that a cataract is the cause of your distorted vision, you can take steps to improve your visual clarity and enhance your color vision.

How Cataracts Affect Color Vision

Unlike color blindness, the cause of which is a mutated gene or a structural defect of the eye, cataracts cloud vision. As a cataract gets worse and scatters more of the light that enters the eye, colors can become less vivid and you may see shadows in your vision.

What Happens

The changes that occur in the lens of the eye when you have a cataract can change the way you perceive color. As the lens gradually yellows or turns brown and is no longer clear or transparent, the sharpness of your vision diminishes. This can make it hard to tell the difference between colors such as green, blue, purple, brown, and black.

What the Lens of the Eye Does

The lens, which is located behind the iris (colored part of the eye), focuses light on the retina – the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye where photosensitive cells send signals to the brain by way of the optic nerve. These light-sensitive cells contribute to color perception and sharpness of vision.

However, with age, the lens loses its flexibility and begins to harden. As the lens becomes cloudy, visual acuity decreases and makes colors look faded. When a cataract clouds the lens, light scatters and vision problems occur since the lens has problems focusing light. Unfortunately, colors that appear less intense is just one of the symptoms a cataract can cause.

Other Vision Changes Cataracts Can Cause

Cataracts generally develop slowly over time as changes occur in the proteins and fibers that make up the lens. As a result, you may notice additional changes in your vision such as greater difficulty seeing at night, increased sensitivity to glare, and double vision in one eye. Low contrast sensitivity, which often is associated with cataracts, is another problem since an object's color and brightness are what make it distinguishable within your field of vision.

How Cataract Surgery Can Help

When vision loss related to cataracts can no longer be corrected with stronger prescription eyeglasses, surgery is an option for restoring vision. The procedure involves removing the cloudy natural lens from the eye and then inserting a clear intraocular (artificial) lens in its place.

Implantation of an artificial lens can significantly improve your vision, including your color vision. In fact, colors may appear quite bright following cataract surgery since the intraocular lens is clear and doesn't make what you see look yellowish or brownish in color like your natural, clouded lens did. It will take time, but you eventually you will adjust to the improvement in your color vision.

For more on cataracts, contact a business such as Budget Optical