Cloudy Lens: Symptoms, Associated Diseases, and Treatment

A cloudy eye lens can significantly impair vision, which can affect quality of life. Not all cases are associated with an underlying condition, but we’ve put together this guide to help you recognize serious symptoms and to find the best treatment fast.

11 minute read

Last Updated July 15, 2020

 Cloudy Lens: Symptoms, Associated Diseases, and Treatment

The lens of your eye helps to refract incoming light so it can be focused on the retina. A cloudy lens can impair vision. You will still be able to see, but the visual field will be hazy. 

Not being able to see things around you clearly interferes with your quality of life. There can be a number of reasons for cloudy vision, some more serious than others. To prevent permanent damage, it is important to identify the underlying cause right away. 

Causes of Cloudy Lens

Most causes of cloudy lens gradually cloud vision over time. There are some cases where your vision can become cloudy suddenly. The situations below result in sudden cloudiness in one or both eyes. 

♦ Unclean contact lenses can cause cloudy vision
♦ Eye injury, such as being hit in the eye
♦ Inflammation, which is usually caused by an autoimmune disease
♦ Infections such as herpes, syphilis, and tuberculosis can cause cloudy lenses and vision

Diseases Associated with Cloudy Lens

When a disease is the underlying cause of a cloudy lens or lenses, the symptoms will be gradual. Over time, vision will get cloudier, and you may notice additional symptoms. When cloudiness lasts for longer than two days, you need to speak with your doctor. 

Some conditions can lead to vision loss without treatment, so it is important to identify and treat the cause right away. 

♦ Cataracts: Cataracts are the most common cause of cloudy lenses. The lens slowly becomes cloudy and affects vision as the cloudy area gradually grows. Cataracts develop in both eyes but not at the same rate. This can cause a difference in vision for both eyes. Cataracts are more common when you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or an eye injury. 

Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels damage the eye’s blood vessels. The risk for diabetic retinopathy is increased with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Without treatment, diabetic retinopathy leads to vision loss and is the number one cause of blindness for people experiencing diabetics. 

Macular Degeneration: This is the most common cause of vision loss caused by the deterioration of the retina. Age is the most significant  risk factor for macular degeneration, but it can also be passed down through family genetics. Leaky blood vessels under the retina interfere with vision. There is no cure for this disease, but you can slow its progression when treated early. 

Fuchs’ dystrophy: This is a disease that affects the cornea. Layers of the cornea pump fluid into the eye to keep vision clear. Fuchs’ dystrophy causes cells in these layers to die, and fluid builds up as a result. This causes the lens to become cloudy, and vision becomes distorted. This disease occurs mostly in individuals with a family history of the disease.

Symptoms Associated with Cloudy Lens

A cloudy lens causes cloudy vision. This is not the same as blurred vision, although the two are often confused. Blurry vision is when objects appear out of focus. When your lens is cloudy, it seems as though you are looking through a fog. Squinting can help when vision is blurred, but it will not help when things are cloudy. 

A cloudy lens can be associated with several different conditions. The symptoms will vary depending on the underlying condition. 

When cataracts are the cause of a cloudy lens, you will notice the following symptoms:

♦ Cloudy vision
♦ Halos seen around lights
♦ Colors appear faded
♦ Difficulty seeing at night
♦ Sensitivity to light 

When Fuchs’ dystrophy is the underlying cause, you may notice these symptoms along with a cloudy lens:

♦ A gritty feeling in your eye
♦ Sensitivity to light
♦ Tiny blisters in your cornea

Cloudy lens and vision are some of the first signs of macular degeneration. Along with this, you may also notice:

♦ Distorted vision
♦ Inability to see in dim light
♦ Seeing spots
♦ Straight lines that appear wavy

Cloudy lenses are one of the first symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, along with:

♦ Floaters
♦ Muted colors
♦ Empty or dark areas in your vision

Cloudy Lens Treatment

Treatment for a cloudy lens will depend on the underlying cause. In cases of inflammation or infection, medications can be prescribed to relieve symptoms. 

When eye disease is causing the lens to turn cloudy, it needs to be treated to prevent further damage to the lens or vision. Once treatment begins, the cloudiness may clear up. Depending on the condition, this relief may only be temporary. 

Treatment is available for underlying conditions that cause a cloudy lens. 

Cataracts: In the early stages, cataracts can be treated with simple changes such as using brighter lights and a magnifying glass. Surgery is the only effective way to remove cataracts, and this is recommended once the cloudy vision interferes with quality of life. Cataract surgery is considered safe and has a high success rate. 

Fuchs’ dystrophy: Treatment will depend on how the disease is affecting your eye. Eye drops are typically prescribed to reduce swelling. Heat is also used to dry the surface of the eye. A corneal transplant may be necessary if symptoms and cloudy vision are severe and do not respond to other treatments. 

Macular degeneration: The dry type of the disease can be slowed with vitamins C and E supplements. The wet type requires surgical treatment options. Anti-VEGF therapy or laser therapy is designed to stop the leakage that causes pressure to build up in the eye. You can also reduce the risk of macular degeneration by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, not smoking, and protecting your eyes outdoors. 

Diabetic retinopathy: During the early stages, you may only need to monitor blood glucose levels more closely. More advanced cases will need surgery to stop or slow the progression of the disease. Even after treatment, you can develop the condition again if you do not keep blood glucose levels under control. 

Natural Treatment for Cloudy Lens

In addition to the treatment methods above, you can try a natural approach. 

There are several important nutrients that your eyes need to maintain good health. The aging process and high risk of oxidative stress have a negative impact on your vision, and a cloudy lens can be a sign of something serious. 

Depending on the cause of your cloudy lens, you can try one of several potential natural treatment options.

To treat cataracts


Vitamin E:
This nutrient is a known protector of the eyes. Tocopherols are the most potent form of this vitamin. By stimulating enzyme production around the eye and reducing oxidative stress, tocopherols reduce the risk of cataracts. 

Mixed Carotenes: Carotenes work together to protect the eyes from oxidative damage. Both alpha- and beta-carotenes, along with lycopene, are proven to reduce cataract development. As part of a regular routine, they also reduce the severity of symptoms such as cloudy lenses. 

To treat macular degeneration


Macular degeneration has no cure, so prevention is necessary. The best way to prevent this condition and vision loss is to provide optimal eye nourishment. 

Lyc-O-Mato®: This nutrient protects against inflammation and oxidative stress that damages cells in the eyes. Lyc-O-Mato is a mixture of the plant compounds lycopene, tocopherols, and phytosterols, and is beneficial for the eyes. Over time, the risk for macular degeneration and vision loss increases. Protecting your eyes with Lyc-O-Mato® significantly reduces this risk.

To treat diabetic retinopathy


Zeaxanthin
: Zeaxanthin provides antioxidant protection from free radicals. It also recycles glutathione, an important antioxidant found in the eye. In these ways, zeaxanthin prevents oxidative damage and inflammation that can cause cloudy vision and more serious conditions. 

Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin reduces oxidative damage to cells caused by uncontrolled diabetes. Elevated blood glucose causes damage to the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy. This condition is a leading cause of vision loss and can be prevented with regular astaxanthin supplements.

How to Prevent Cloudy Lens

There are some conditions, such as eye injury or infection, that you cannot avoid. By promoting eye health, you can reduce the risk of developing diseases that cause cloudy vision

Preventative measures can help you reduce the risk of cloudy lenses and the risk of serious eye diseases. Diet and healthy lifestyle choices can boost eye health to better prevent damage to the eye. 

Eating right: A balanced and nutritious diet is the best way to promote eye health. Essential nutrients for eye health include vitamins C and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, along with fresh fish like salmon and tuna.

♦ Quit smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other damage to the eyes. 

Eye protection: Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from UV damage when you are outdoors. UV light increases oxidative stress and increases the risk of lens damage and macular degeneration. 

When to See Your Doctor

A cloudy lens does not have to be associated with an underlying condition. Occasional cloudy vision is not always something to worry about. If the cloudiness lasts for more than two days, you should see your doctor. You also need to see your doctor if you notice any of the following:

♦ Double vision
♦ Sudden eye pain
♦ A sudden headache
♦ Seeing flashes of light
♦ A gritty feeling in your eye that does not go away

A cloudy lens or lenses makes you see the world through a foggy window. Some causes of a cloudy lens develop slowly, while others appear more suddenly. Cataracts are the most common cause and can usually be removed to restore vision. 

There are other conditions like macular degeneration that can lead to blindness if not treated early. It is important to speak with your doctor right away if you are experiencing cloudy vision.

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