If This Happens To Your Eyes, It Could Be A Sign Of Cataracts

Those of us who are lucky enough to have the ability of sight know the value in being able to take a long drive, gaze at a new baby, or see the beauty of a sunrise. Unfortunately the older we get, the more chances we have to lose our eyesight, and one of those ways is through cataracts.

Our eyes can tell us a lot of things about our overall health. Sudden loss of vision could indicate a problem with blood flow to the eyes or brain, according to WebMD. Bulging eyes could signal a problem with the thyroid, like Graves' disease. Blurred vision can be a sign of diabetes, and yellowed whites of the eyes can mean jaundice. "From blood flow to the functioning of your immune system, the health of your eye is directly related to the health of the body," said Dianna L. Seldomridge, ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in an interview with Health Digest.

How to know if you may have cataracts

Cataracts can happen when proteins in the lens of the eye break down, causing blurriness, haziness, or poorer perception of color, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). When you have a cataract, the lens becomes cloudy and it can feel like looking through a dirty windshield.

One indicator of cataracts is night blindness, which is also known as nyctalopia (via Healthline). This means that you have trouble with your vision at night or in dimly-lit places. Driving at night can be especially difficult due to the sudden brightness of streetlights and headlights.

Your risk of developing cataracts increases with age, according to the National Eye Institute. Data from 2010 shows that by age 80, 70% of White Americans, 53% of Black Americans, and 61% of Hispanic Americans have cataracts. Cataracts are also more prevalent in women, as 61% of cataract patients are female, compared to 39% who are men. It is projected that by the year 2050, the number of Americans with cataracts will double from 24.4 million to about 50 million. Cataracts can only be removed with surgery (via AAO).