Do Cataracts Make Colors Look More Faded?

Is your vision cloudy or blurry? Are you sensitive to light?

Does your prescription for glasses or contact lenses seem like it’s changing more frequently? These are some of the common signs of cataracts.

A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s lens, which can develop in one or both eyes. When you have a cataract, it may seem like you’re constantly looking at the world through a dirty or foggy window.

Keep reading to find out if having cataracts can make colors look faded.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract occurs when proteins inside your eye break down and clump together on your lens, turning it cloudy. The cloudy lens prevents light entering your eye from focusing correctly on the retina.

When light cannot focus correctly on the retina, this causes blurry vision and other irritating symptoms. Often, a cataract develops gradually and only affects a small area of your lens.

You may not notice any changes in your vision during the early stages of a cataract.

Symptoms of Cataracts

As the cataract continues to grow, it affects more of your lens. You may notice some of the following symptoms like:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Halos and glare
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Frequent prescription changes
  • Colors appearing dull or faded

Causes of Cataracts

Age is the most common cause of most cataracts. However, cataracts can also form at an earlier age, and some babies are born with cataracts, a condition called congenital cataracts. Other factors that increase your risk for early cataracts include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Excessive alcohol usage
  • Excessive exposure to UV light without proper protection
  • Long-term use of corticosteroid medications

How Cataracts Affect Your Ability to See Colors

Over time, a cataract turns yellow or brown and passes this hue to the light entering your eye. As a result, colors can start to look faded.

In the later stages of cataract development, lens discoloration might become visible to anyone looking at your eye.

Effects of Lens Discoloration

The change in the color of your lens can lead to the following:

Trouble Identifying Colors

Colors might not be as vibrant as they once were due to cataracts. Consequently, you may find it hard to distinguish certain hues like purple, blue, black, brown, and green.

Things you know are white, like your dress or shoes, might look muddy brown or yellow because of the color of your cataract. You’re selecting an outfit for the day, but suddenly your bright-colored clothes look washed out.

Even your purple socks might seem blue or green due to cataracts. It may feel like you’re looking at the world through a muted, sepia-toned photo.

If you think that colors look tinted, it’s essential to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine the cause of your vision changes.

Difficulty Driving

If you’ve started noticing a yellow or brown tint to your vision, traffic light colors may no longer have the same intensity. For instance, red might look muddy.

As a result, you might be unable to interpret traffic lights and road signs correctly. Poor vision when driving is a road hazard.

If your sight is too impaired to drive safely, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. Cataract surgery will restore your ability to perceive colors and see clearly. After the procedure, you’ll be able to get behind the wheel safely.

Reduced Contrast

Once your cataract takes a brown or yellow tinge, it can affect the sharpness and clarity of your vision. For example, you may easily spill black coffee while pouring it into a dark mug.

The reduced ability to notice color contrast can make reading, being able to tell if a fruit is ripe, and performing other tasks that need proper color perception quite challenging.

How to Restore Color Vision

Besides restoring crisp, clear vision, cataract surgery can also restore your ability to see and perceive colors. During cataract surgery, your surgeon will apply numbing eye drops.

You may also receive a sedative to help you relax. Although you’ll be awake, you won’t feel pain or discomfort.

Your surgeon will then create two tiny incisions in your cornea. Your surgeon carefully breaks your natural lens into small pieces using a laser or ultrasound through these incisions.

All the fragments will be removed from your eye using gentle suction. Once done, your surgeon will implant an intraocular lens (IOL). No stitches are needed to close the incisions, leaving them to heal independently.

Cataract surgery only takes about 15 minutes to complete and is an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll go home after it’s over. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your surgeon will wait until the first eye heals before you have the second cataract removed.

Vision after Cataract Surgery

Cataracts add a yellow or brown shade to everything you see. However, lens discoloration happens very slowly. This means you might not realize that the world looks muted or dull.

But colors will come alive once the yellow, cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear intraocular lens. The sky will be a more brilliant and dazzling blue, and things that once looked faded will be much brighter and more vivid.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see a dramatic change in your ability to perceive and see colors.

Regain Your Color Vision with Cataract Surgery

If you suspect that cataracts have altered your color perception, cataract surgery at Eye Consultants of North Dakota can give back what you’ve lost. You’ll regain your vision and ability to see colors as they should be. 

Are you concerned about cataracts and your color vision? Schedule your appointment today at Eye Consultants of North Dakota in Fargo, ND, to find out if it may be time for cataract surgery!

Contact Us