Five colorful facts about cataracts

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(BPT) – Sponsored by Alcon

A glistening sapphire ocean, sparkling in the sunlight and dotted with a rainbow of billowing spinnaker sails. A fiery sunset ablaze in the sky. Lush, leafy trees swaying in the breeze. A bowl full of jewel-toned fresh berries. An artist’s deft brushstrokes bringing a masterpiece to vivid life.

There are endless ways to describe how colorful life can be. For the more than 24 million Americans over age 40 affected by cataracts, their ability to see the colors of such splendors can be greatly diminished.[1],[2] This June, during Cataract Awareness Month, it’s important to learn these five key facts about the condition:

Cataracts reduce the ability to perceive color.

Cataracts can affect color vision, making some hues look faded. At first, vision may gradually become yellowish or brownish — but with time, distinguishing between blues and purples can also be difficult.2

The impact on artistic vision.

With cataracts, an individual’s ability to see bright colors decreases over time and can impact creative work, especially for an artist. In fact, French impressionist Claude Monet’s paintings were dramatically affected when he had cataracts. His work became more and more dark as he was unable to see colors with the same intensity.[3]

Among other symptoms, cataracts can diminish visual vibrancy and sharpness.

The effect of cataracts has also been described as blurred or hazy vision. Other symptoms can include difficulty seeing in low light and at night, and sensitivity to bright light.[4]

Cataract surgery can have a significant impact on color perception.

Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts.[5] According to a survey of about 1,300 Americans conducted by Alcon, more than 65 percent of people who have undergone cataract surgery report being surprised by the brightness and vividness of colors post-surgery.[6]

Eye color is a surprising risk factor for developing cataracts.

Evidence suggests that adults with darker irises are at a greater risk for developing certain types of cataracts in late middle age. Experts recommend that those with brown or black eyes should more carefully follow cataract prevention measures.[7]

To get a clearer picture on cataracts and its effects on seeing colors, as well as treatment options including the latest innovations that can treat other eye conditions at the same time of cataract surgery, visit


[1] Vision Problems in the U.S. Cataract. Accessed May 2019.

[2] Duffy MA. Vision Changes Related to Cataracts. Vision Aware. Accessed May 2019.

[3] Gruener A. The effect of cataracts and cataract surgery on Claude Monet. Br J Gen Pract. 2015;65(634):254–255. doi:10.3399/bjgp15X684949

[4] Cataract. American Optometric Association. Accessed May 2019.

[6] My Cataracts Survey Results. Alcon data on file, 2017.

[7] Are People with Light Blue, Green Eyes More Likely to Develop Cataracts? Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center. Published January 20, 2016. Accessed May 2019.