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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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One eye sees darker than the other. What could cause that?

This answer was rated:

What causes vision in one eye to appear darker than the other?

Doctor DanB :

I think it may be easier to understand my answer if you can think of the eye as a camera. A camera requires an opening for the light to come in, a shutter to regulate how much light comes in and there must be a clear, unimpeded path of the light through lenses and back to the film in the camera.

The eye has lenses (the cornea, the crystalline lens), a shutter (the pupil) and then has light-sensing tissue like film called the retina.

If there is anything that is blocking the path of light from the cornea all the way back to the retina, this can cause the vision in that eye to appear darker than the other.

In addition, if the shutter or aperture of the eye (pupil) doesn't let in enough light, the vision can seem darker in that eye.

The most common reason for the vision to be darker in one eye than the other is a cataract forming, which is a darkening and clouding of the natural crystalline lens which when we're born is clear.

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

I guess I should see my eye doctor

Doctor DanB :

Other things can cause this such as haemorrhaging within the jelly of the back of the eye, called vitreous. Clouding of the cornea can cause a decrease in light.

I would recommend going to see your ophthalmologist as it is likely there may be some cataract formation. The other stuff is much less common.

Does all that make sense?

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Yes, it does

Doctor DanB :

Do you have any other questions about this topic that I can help you with?

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

What usually causes cataracts to form

Doctor DanB :

Cataracts form from the instant we're born... The lens is constantly accumulating proteins, water which over many years cause it to get cloudy; however, cigarette smoking, exposure to UV light (sunlight), diabetes and steroid use are common reasons for the formation of cataract to be accelerated.

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Glad I quit smoking 12 years ago

Doctor DanB :

Me too, that can only help your eyes and the rest of your health.

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Well I will see about seeing my eye doctor

Can anything be done before it is fully formed
Doctor DanB :

At the point that the cataract is formed enough that it is affecting your vision and interrupting your activities of daily living, it can be taken out with surgery which is quite well tolerated and very successful for large majority of patients. However, until that point, there is nothing that can be done to get them better. They'll never improve from where they are now and only limiting risk factors (that I just talked about) can help slow down their progression, if at all.

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Ok how long does it take to form to the point it can be removed. On average

Doctor DanB :

That's very individual for everyone, however, I'd say that the average age of my average cataract patient is between 65 and 80; many are younger and many are older, however. If your exposure to smoking (cumulative), UV light, steroids are significant, then this could be sooner than those ages.

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Well I don't smoke and my glasses darken when I go out and iI don't use steroids, so I will have a check so I can keep an eye on it

Doctor DanB :

That's a good idea. At least that way you'll know how advanced they are, if you have them at all, and you can formulate a plan with your doctor about when to do something about them.

Do you have any other concerns about this that we haven't addressed?

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Good idea.. Thanks and I guess that also explains the increase in floaters

Doctor DanB :

Our likelihood of getting floaters does certainly increase with age as does cataract formation so they simultaneous worsening certainly is common.

JACUSTOMER-kbr11js9- :

Thank you for your time. You have been most helpful, have a wonderful night

Doctor DanB :

You're welcome.

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