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The Different Kinds of Cataracts

Posted on May 20, 2021 by - Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens that blocks incoming light from properly focusing on the retina. Not all cataracts cause the same symptoms or affect the same portion of the lens. Read on as Dr. Jay Schwartz and the team at Schwartz Laser Eye Center differentiate between the three main types of cataracts.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

Nuclear sclerotic cataracts are the most common type of cataract. These cataracts start at the center, or nucleus, of the lens. As the lens progressively hardens and vision becomes cloudy from a nuclear sclerotic cataract, the lens also turns yellow or brown.

Nuclear sclerotic cataracts can cause poor near and distance vision and cause problems distinguishing between different shades of colors. Paradoxically, some patients with nuclear sclerotic cataracts report a temporary improvement in near vision (this phenomenon is known as “second sight”). However, as the cataract develops, vision worsens.

Cortical Cataracts

Cortical cataracts develop on the outer edge of the lens. White streaks or opacities form around the periphery of the lens and slowly extend toward the center of the lens. These streaks are also known as “spokes.” As the spokes block light from passing through the lens, blurry vision, light sensitivity, glare and problems with depth perception can occur.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of cortical cataracts than people without diabetes.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

Posterior subcapsular cataracts develop near the back of the lens. These cataracts can affect anyone but they are commonly found in patients who have had eye surgery or trauma to the eye in the past, a history of prolonged steroid use or elevated blood sugar levels.

Posterior subcapsular cataracts start out small but tend to progress quicker than other types of cataracts do. They gradually interfere with reading vision and cause glare or halos around bright lights (which can make it particularly difficult to drive at night). Posterior subcapsular cataracts can also affect vision in bright light settings.

Cataract Care You Can Trust

The only treatment for cataracts, regardless of the type, is surgical removal. Left untreated, cataracts will continue to develop and eventually lead to blindness. If you have a cataract that is significantly interfering with your vision and your activities of daily living, it should be removed.

The team at Schwartz Laser Eye Center are proud to offer expert care for cataracts and advanced artificial lens replacement options. Depending on the artificial lens you select, you may not need glasses following your surgery.

For more information about cataract surgery and professional guidance for your case, we invite you to schedule a consultation at our practice today. Call or email us to request an appointment.

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