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Why Do Cataracts Make it Difficult to Read Text on Colored Backgrounds?

Why Do Cataracts Make it Difficult to Read Text on Colored Backgrounds?

Cataracts are something that affects pretty much everyone as we age. This common condition causes vision problems that progress at a very slow rate—typically over many years—and can be diagnosed at any time from the age of 50 onwards. Thankfully, they don’t generally impact vision sufficiently to require treatment until 60 years plus.Cataracts are usually picked up via regular eye examinations and monitored until they need treatment. While asymptomatic at first, as they progress, they begin to cause issues with your eyesight, such as difficulties in reading text on colored backgrounds.But why is this? To understand we first need to have a basic knowledge of what a cataract is. The following helps explain the condition and the reasons why they cause this—and other—eyesight problems.

How and Why Cataracts Impact Vision

  • What are cataracts?
  • How do cataracts impact vision?
  • The cataracts—colored background issue

What are cataracts?

Cataracts evolve as we age. The lens in the eye becomes less flexible and proteins within the tissue begin to clump together. This causes cloudy areas over the lens that gradually increase in size.  

How do cataracts impact vision?

The cloudy areas of the lens prevent light from flowing freely through the eye. In turn, this means the brain doesn’t receive the right signals via the optic nerve, meaning that the images we see aren’t clear.Common cataract symptoms include:

  • Hazy, blurred vision
  • Seeing halos around a light source
  • Fading, yellowed colors
  • Difficulty seeing in low light

And, as already mentioned, difficulty in reading text on a colored background.

The cataracts—colored background issue

As the cloudy areas on the lens become thicker, it also causes the lens to change color. It evolves from being totally clear to a yellow or brownish shade. This makes it difficult for the brain to perceive some colors, most noticeably darker ones, such as green, purple, dark blue, brown, and black.  It’s this that makes it harder to read text that’s on a colored background because the brain is less able to perceive color. This is further exacerbated because we also lose the ability to perceive contrast. So two similar colors will no longer be so obvious. An example could be a cream cup on a white tablecloth or a black cat lying on a gray rug. That’s not the only reason, either. Remember that we said cataracts prevent the flow of light through the eye? This too reduces our ability to perceive contrast.All of this combines to make reading text on a colored background problematic. Once cataracts have evolved to this stage, your ophthalmologist is likely to deem that the time has come for a simple surgical procedure to remove the diseased lens. This uses a laser to break down and remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial one.  Cataract treatment is the most commonly carried out surgical procedure around the world with an extremely high success rate. Without it, the cataract/s will continue to evolve, eventually causing total loss of vision.

Need Cataract Monitoring or Surgery? You Need the West Boca Eye Center

We’re very lucky that there’s a simple surgical procedure to remove cataracts and help restore great vision. With the majority of cataracts being related to advancing age, it can be quite late in life when you need treatment. Your eyes are unique, meaning your cataracts are also one of a kind—so it makes sense that you want an expert to carry out the procedure.Nowhere is this better served than at the West Boca Eye Center. Run by one of the world’s leading cataract surgeons, Brent Bellotte MD., this state-of-the-art clinic offers cutting-edge cataract surgery that’s bespoke to your particular needs.Ready to find out more? Start your journey to clearer vision by visiting and call today to book a consultation.

Why Do Cataracts Make it Difficult to Read Text on Colored Backgrounds?
Why Do Cataracts Make it Difficult to Read Text on Colored Backgrounds?

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Specializing in modern cataract surgery.

Located 1/2 miles North of West Boca Medical Center on Glades Road, directly behind Macy's Furniture Gallery.

West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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