Seeing With Cataracts

Cataracts have been wreaking havoc with my eyesight lately. The good news is I recently had an eye exam and discovered they are bad enough that I qualify for surgery. and  got a referral to a surgeon. Just waiting to hear from their office. While celebrating Thanksgiving with friends last weekend I felt very grateful for our healthcare system here in Canada.

I wondered if it was possible to describe in photos how I see things. I cannot do it “exactly” but will try Here is a night shot that I took , then added the brightness, admittedly too bright, with  the lines that emanate from a street lamp. The lines are more pronounced and extend only a couple of inches from the light source in all directions. I couldn’t change the tone but normally it just looks dark.The brightness that I see is more like the light on the outer edges of the lamp in the photo, not the center part. Also I only treated one light, they would all look this way as I get closer. Of course with all that brightness, the street  gets darker and I lose the details in the darker areas.

The other night I was walking up the street , looking at how far the halo from the streetlight extended and seeing a kind of rainbow effect and just about ran into a fellow coming from the opposite direction. I did not see him at all until he was directly in front of me. Needless to say I am no longer driving because the headlights of the cars coming toward me blind me and I cannot make out the curbs on the street.

Edmonton Autumn 2011 063Next is a photo that I took through my window, which was fogged up a little, a fair  description of how the colours get faded, sharpness is fuzzy and the light is so bright.


Next is another example of how I am seeing now. I took the photo in manual focus mode, blurring a little and adding some light while desaturating the overall look. It strains the eyes so I wear sunglasses to get a little more definition. Regardless, bicyclists and vehicles often seem to appear out of nowhere so it is definitely disconcerting if not downright scary! On bad days I cannot read a book or my email.The strain is affecting me now as I compose this post.


IMG_0032-2 (2)

In the meantime I am taking fewer photos. When I do go out to shoot, I am relying on autofocus and adjusting my settings indoors.Feedback from others is welcome. Do you think I have described it right? Everyone is affected differently. Almost everyone whom I have spoken to, say that after cataract surgery things are sharper, brighter and have more colour. That will be a relief!

It is not often that we have a second chance so I am grateful that there is a solution.


18 thoughts on “Seeing With Cataracts

  1. Good description of how your eyesight deteriorates with cataracts, I was totally amazed how clear, bright and sharp everything was after my surgery and would stare out the windows marvelling at the clarity that I had once taken for granted! Yes we are blessed to be living in a country that provides us with these services!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like I did describe it well, then. I remember when you got the operation and your photos were sharper. if I don’t hear from the opthamologist by next week I will be calling them. Yes I am grateful for healthcare.


  2. Thank you Laura.The wait for a call regarding my first appointment is a test of my patience. I am hearing nothing but good things from those who have gone before me, including a woman in her 80’s who still sees well and had hers 30 ears ago.


  3. Wow. This is an interesting post. My eye doc recently informed me that I have the beginning of a cataract in one eye. He assured me it would be a long while before I would need to do anything about it…but I suspect that I’ve been feeling the effects of it for a while. Oddly, he tells me I have near perfect distance vision….but why do signs look so blurry? Sigh. I had no idea that this also effects color vision. Glory be. I hope you will have this condition solved sooner rather than later. It’s a bummer to have to wait to feel really blind before getting a solution. Especially for a photographer.


  4. I think I was first told about three years ago. and feel the same; that we have to almost go blind before something Is done I used to be far-sighted and within a year my vision dropped 2 full points and with glass correction things are still blurry because of the cataracts. that and the overall cloudiness and not seeing well at night with the lights or bright daylight.. Did not hear from the surgeons this week, if I don’t hear from them next I am supposed to call..


  5. Oh, my gosh. I am so grateful to have found this article. I do not post photos often because I, too, suffer with cataracts. I don’t drive or go out at night so there are few opportunities to take pictures. I haven’t shared this with my readers because it is so distressing to me that I can’t use my camera.

    I suffer from acute anxiety so cataract surgery could be a complicated procedure. I’m hoping to get enrolled in a trial study for Lanosterol eye drops. Lanosterol is a type of cholesterol that has proven successful in dissolving cataracts in animals.

    Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. I sympathize with your anxiety. I am definitely not comfortable but with the cataracts getting worse , I just want to see. I will use some relaxation techniques, but understand everyone responds differently.Good luck with the trial study.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane, although I love all of your photographs, I’m happy to hear that you will be able to continue doing your photography with better eyesight capabilities. I suspect you’ll also be happy to safely drive your automobile again. Interestingly enough, the street light image is super cool, even though I’d rather not know that you took it risking life and limb.

    Yes, it is a blessing that soon you’ll be cataract free. Praise Be to the Canadian Health Service!


      1. Oh dear Jane. Another read and I apologize for misinterpreting a few details. If I lived near you and in Canada, I’d take you to the mountains, or wherever. I’d love to observe your process in person!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting that you say it happens on and off, I find it probably depends on the light conditions.i was walking with a friend a couple of months ago and commented how foggy it was that day and she replied, “No Jane, it is clear as a bell out.” I do not drive at all now and although I am not riding a bicycle because of ice and snow, would be wary of it at this point. My first appointment is in three weeks YAY! and I will probably try to hurry up the surgery after that. Happily I was out with the camera twice during the holidays and even managed to capture images of Chickadees.


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