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Thank you for your comment.

Regarding your questions, patients with cataracts are symptomatic of contrast sensitivity loss before there are measurable losses of visual acuity.  These symptoms include difficulty with reading newsprint (reading gray print on a gray background), needing extra lighting for reading, and difficulty with night driving.

I refer you to your optometrist/ophthalmologist for the most accurate measurement, and interpretation, of your possible contrast sensitivity loss due to your diagnosis.  A possible self-monitoring tool can be utilized through the Ridgevue publishing company.  The editor, Mark Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO is creating a low vision online database for optometrists and optometry students, and he has developed a contrast sensitivity test which can be purchased through the itunes store:

In regards to discontinuing driving, again, I refer you to your eye care providers for more information and guidance.  However, if someone does not feel safe driving due to their vision, I always encourage that person to find other options for transportation.

Per your question of when to call your eye doctors for cataract evaluation and surgery consultation - a cataract is typically evaluated during  regular eye exams, and your doctor will discuss with you when a surgery consultation would be appropriate.  Therefore, if you are seeing your eye doctor on the usual annual basis, you are on the right track.