Why Cataracts Make Text on Colored Backgrounds Hard to Read

So you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts. You may be experiencing common symptoms like needing more light to read, difficulty driving at night due to glare, or blurry vision. One symptom can sometimes take people by surprise – the diminished ability to read text on colored backgrounds.

To understand why it’s hard to read things like brochures and advertisements when the backgrounds are colorful, such as those in shades of green, blue, or purple, let’s start by looking at what causes a cataract.

As We Age

As we age, the natural lens in our eye becomes less flexible, less transparent, and thicker. Eventually, the tissues within the lens start to break down and clump together, causing cloudy areas to form. It’s these cloudy areas that are the cause of the most common cataract symptoms, like blurry or hazy vision.

When Cataracts Occur

When cataracts are present, the lens of the eye also gradually changes color. A once colorless lens can become yellowish or brownish. This discoloration can make it difficult to distinguish between certain colors, especially dark blue, brown, black, green, and purple. This reduced ability to perceive color is one of the reasons it can be difficult to read black text on a dark background.

When Your Eye’s Lens Changes Color

When the lens of the eye changes color, the sharpness of vision can degrade, making it more difficult to perceive contrast. For example, looking at a white coffee mug on a light-colored tablecloth or a brown chair against a dark rug may become more difficult to see. The same thing applies to reading dark text on a dark background. Eyes with cataracts require increased contrast between the object and the background to make it “stand out.”

And as if those reasons aren’t enough, cataracts can also prevent light from reaching parts of the eye that create an image. So, when text color is too similar to the background color, letters and words may look muddled and difficult to distinguish.

Why Text Gets Harder to Read

Black text on a white background is the easiest for cataract patients to read, but unfortunately, graphic artists are not usually creating images with cataract patients in mind. Fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed today.  During cataract surgery your doctor will replace the cloudy, discolored lens with an artificial lens that is clear, thus resolving most issues with distinguishing colors, in addition to other cataract symptoms.

If your cataract symptoms are worsening or interfering with your everyday activities, be sure to talk with your doctor and ask your eye doctor if the Apthera intraocular lens (IOL) is right for you.

The Apthera IOL, an advanced extended depth of focus IOL, is a replacement lens exclusively designed to help you achieve your best personal vision. Using small aperture technology, the Apthera IOL provides patients with a continuous range of vision from near to far.1 

Live life in focus.

Find an Apthera IOL doctor near you.

1 Data on file, AcuFocus, Inc.