A cataract is the clouding of your eye lens. It starts to form when proteins clump together on the lens, blocking light from entirely passing through.
Cataracts cause symptoms like blurry vision, glare from light sources, poor night vision, fading colors, and frequent prescription changes, among others. There are many different types of cataracts, and the different types can develop at different rates and produce various symptoms.
Keep reading to learn more about the different kinds of cataracts!
Types of Cataracts
The best way to determine which type of cataract you have is to visit your eye doctor. They will be able to thoroughly examine your eyes and recommend cataract surgery if necessary.
Age-related cataracts are the most common type of cataract. It develops due to the normal aging process in the eye’s natural lens.
Your lens gradually develops a brownish or yellowish hue, which also changes your vision. Over time, age-related cataracts increase in size, causing your vision to blur and colors to appear dull.
The yellowing of the lens can make it harder for you to tell specific colors apart, like blue, black, and purple. Age-related cataracts are typically described by how and where they form in your lens.
Cortical cataracts are a type of age-related cataract. They are relatively common in older adults with diabetes.
Cortical cataracts begin developing in the outer edges of your lens before spreading inward. This type of cataract is commonly unpredictable.
They might form slowly over the years or, in some cases, may progress significantly in just a couple of months. A common symptom of cortical cataracts is excessive glare, making driving difficult at night.
A nuclear cataract occurs at the center of the lens. Nuclear cataracts are very common.
It may take several months to years to notice any vision changes from nuclear sclerotic cataracts. As this kind of cataract progresses, it can cause a variety of vision issues like blurry vision up close.
Posterior Subcapsular Cataract
Patients with diabetes or who use steroids are more likely to be affected by this type of cataract. Posterior subcapsular cataracts develop behind your lens capsule and causes the area behind your lens to become opaque.
As a result, you may experience symptoms like increased sensitivity to light, halos, and excessive glare. After posterior subcapsular cataracts begin forming, they tend to grow rapidly.
Some babies are born with cataracts, and in other cases, some develop congenital cataracts in childhood. Congenital cataracts might be due to prenatal infections, genetic disorders, or abusing drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.
These cataracts can be so small that they don’t affect vision. But if they block your little one’s sight, they can lead to amblyopia and will likely need to be removed.
An injury to the eye can cause traumatic cataracts. These cataracts can develop due to a penetrating or blunt trauma and may take a few years to form.
Cataracts can start to grow after overexposure to different forms of radiation. For instance, people who get radiation cancer treatment or spend too much time in the sun could have cataracts as a result.
What to Do if You Think You Might Have Cataracts
If you suspect you have cataracts, visit your ophthalmologist to discuss the symptoms you’re experiencing. Your doctor will perform an eye exam to determine the specific cause of your symptoms.
Most ophthalmologists won’t suggest cataract removal until they start interfering with daily activities like driving, reading, cooking, or watching TV.
In the early stages of cataracts, your doctor may give you glasses or a new prescription to mitigate the symptoms. Magnifying lenses, anti-glare sunglasses, and brighter lighting can also help in the initial stages.
If cataract symptoms become severe and prevent you from performing routine, everyday tasks, the only way to regain your sight is by having cataract surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the cataract-affected, natural lens and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens to restore sharp, clear vision.
Can You Get Cataracts Twice?
After you’ve had cataract surgery, you may develop posterior capsule opacification or secondary cataracts. However, a secondary cataract isn’t a recurrence of your original cataracts.
Once your cataracts are removed the first time, they can’t grow back.
In most cataract procedures, the results are excellent, allowing patients to enjoy crisp, clear vision for life.
Posterior capsule opacification, or PCO, can occur several months or years after your primary cataracts are removed. PCO, or secondary cataract, happens when a protein film forms on the membrane around your new artificial lens.
The symptoms of secondary cataracts are very similar to those of primary cataracts, however, they are not cataracts. You may experience the following symptoms if you have secondary cataracts:
- Blurry or cloudy vision
- Halos and glares
- Reduced color vision
- Difficulty seeing near or far-away objects
In order to restore vision affected by PCO or secondary cataracts, your eye doctor will perform a simple, in-office laser procedure that removes the scar tissue on the lens.
Best Cataract Care
The only way to know for sure if it’s time for cataract surgery is to have an eye care professional monitor the progress of your cataracts. The experienced ophthalmologists at Joshi Retina Institute can correctly diagnose cataracts and provide world-class cataract care, regardless of the type.
Do you want to find out if you have cataracts and receive the best care for your unique vision needs? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL, today!