Different Types of Cataracts: Insights into Variations

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Cataracts, a common eye illness that affects millions of people worldwide, can have a substantial impact on one’s vision and quality of life. Understanding the various types of cataracts is critical for efficient management and treatment. Let’s explore the different types of cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts refer to the clouding of the natural lens of the eye, resulting in blurred vision and if left untreated, leading to vision impairment. The lens, which is mostly composed of water and proteins, may change structure over time, resulting in the production of cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

Each type of cataract presents differently and progresses at various rates. Recognizing these differences is critical for early discovery, effective intervention, and successful management. Furthermore, recognizing the specific kind of cataract can assist eye care experts in adjusting treatment methods to individual needs, delivering the best potential outcomes for patients. The types of cataracts include:

1. Nuclear sclerotic cataract

This is the most common type of cataract and is also known as nuclear sclerosis. It’s called ‘nuclear’ because it begins in the centre of the lens (the nucleus), whereas’ sclerosis’ is the medical term for hardening body tissue. Clouding can expand from the nucleus to other layers of the eye as it advances.

  • What causes nuclear sclerotic cataracts?

This type of cataract is caused by the lens hardening and yellowing as you get older. Over the years, new fibres grow around the periphery of the lens, pushing the older lens material towards the centre and making it denser. Smoking increases the risk of nuclear sclerotic cataracts.

Nuclear sclerosis impairs your capacity to focus. When your vision begins to deteriorate, you may experience second sight,’ or a momentary enhancement in your close-up vision. However, when the cataract advances, your eyesight will suffer again. As the lens yellows more, you’ll have difficulty seeing things in the distance, with objects seeming indistinct and colours appearing faded.

  • How fast do nuclear sclerotic cataracts progress?

Nuclear sclerotic cataracts form gradually over time, so it may take a few years before you detect a change in your vision, and your vision may gradually decline.

2. Cortical cataract

Cortical refers to the outer layer of anything, which relates to the fact that this cataract begins at the lens’s outer edge, as opposed to a nuclear sclerotic cataract. As a cortical cataract advances, it forms spoke-like lines that lead into the centre of the lens, scattering light as it enters the eye.

  • What causes cortical cataracts?

Diabetes increases your chances of developing this type of cataract. Excessive sun exposure can also raise the risk of cortical cataracts.

  • Cortical cataract symptoms

You may have blurred vision or hazy lines that impair your ability to see. You may also experience glare from both the sun and artificial lighting, as well as problems with driving at night.

  • How fast do cortical cataracts progress?

This kind of cataract grows quickly, with symptoms appearing within months, so early cataract treatment is essential. 

3. Posterior subcapsular cataract

A Posterior Subcapsular Cataract (PSC) is a type of cataract that develops on the posterior side of the eye’s natural lens, just beneath the lens capsule. This unique position distinguishes PSC from other types of cataracts. 

  • What causes posterior subcapsular cataracts?

Diabetes and extreme near-sightedness increase your chances of developing a subcapsular cataract. This type of cataract is also more likely if you use steroids or are exposed to radiation.

  • Posterior subcapsular cataract symptoms

A subcapsular cataract can make it difficult to see in strong light and generate glare or halos surrounding lights at night, making it especially challenging to drive at night. Your vision may be fuzzy, and you may have difficulty reading.

  • How fast do posterior subcapsular cataracts progress?

This form of cataract grows more quickly than nuclear sclerotic or cortical cataracts, thus cataract treatment should be done as early as possible.

Other Types of Cataracts

There are other types of cataracts that can develop as a result of both internal and external factors. Congenital cataracts are those that babies are born with, whereas infantile or juvenile cataracts are detected in older babies or children. Cataracts can also form as a result of trauma, radiation, or inflammation.

Comprehensive Cataract Care at Asia Pacific Eye Centre

Understanding the various types of cataracts is critical for maintaining healthy eyes. If you are experiencing vision changes or are at risk of acquiring cataracts, visit Asia Pacific Eye Centre. We provide complete eye care, including cataract diagnosis, cataract treatment, and postoperative care. Individuals may take control of their eyesight and ensure a brighter, clearer future by being proactive about eye health. Schedule a cataract examination at Asia Pacific Eye Centre today to begin your journey to better eye health.