Cataracts: Sensitivity to Light and Glare



Beyond seeing halos, experiencing double vision within one eye or seeing faded or yellow colors, cataracts can also cause sensitivity to light and glare. When a light source affects our ability to see clearly, we refer to it as glare. Glare can be grouped into two categories: discomfort glare and disability glare.

  • Discomfort glare is defined as a light source too strong for our eyes, usually it causes people to shade or close their eyes. An example of discomfort glare is leaving a dark room and moving into bright sunlight.
  • Disability glare can be caused by eye diseases and reduces our visual performance. These diseases make the eyes sensitive to normal light sources and levels of light.

The most common of these eye diseases is a cataract. Patients with cataracts have an eye lens that is not as clear as it should be and incoming light is scattered rather than following a usual path to the retina in the back of the eye. As a result, vision is blurred and coping with bright light is difficult. Patients with cataracts usually have a lot of issues with glare. The easiest way to cope with glare and light sensitivity is to limit the light coming into the eye. Using a hand to shade glare or wearing a wide-brimmed hat can reduce glare without much cost. Wearing tinted glasses can substantially reduce glare as well. When buying sunglasses, ensure they have a UV filter to protect eyes from harmful UV rays. Light activated sunglasses can also be helpful as they get darker in brighter conditions. Talk to a physician to learn more about your cataract symptoms and the treatment options available to you.