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Everything About Cataracts: Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Treatment Options

Gina Walters
Published

LAST UPDATED:

cataracts

Cataracts are a common eye condition that can be a major concern for older individuals.

The condition clouds the eye’s natural lens and leads to blurred vision. 

The cloudy vision caused by Cataracts can make it difficult to read, drive a car at night, or see objects clearly.

Most Cataracts develop slowly and may lead to vision problems over time.

Let us explore more about Cataracts, their symptoms, causes, types, and various treatment options.

What is a Cataract

A Cataract is a serious eye condition in which the clear lens inside the eye becomes clouded and can lead to vision problems.  

The eye lens is an important part of the eye that helps focus light onto the retina and allows clear vision.  

However, the proteins in the lens may start breaking down and clump together with time.

The process is responsible for the clouding effect, which results in blurred or dirty vision.

Also, one’s vision may get worse, and one may have a hard time doing daily activities with time if the condition is left untreated.

The different types of Cataracts include Nuclear Cataracts, Cortical Cataracts, Cerulean Cataracts, Congenital Cataracts, and more.

Consult an eye expert for a complete eye test if you experience any vision problems.

Curious about whether untreated Cataracts can lead to blindness or other vision problems? Read:Can a Cataract cause blindness (untreated Cataracts lead to blindness)

What causes Cataracts

Aging is one of the most common causes of Cataracts. 

Research suggests that the protein in the eye lens starts breaking down and clumping together around age 40.

The clumping of protein contributes to the clouding of the eye lenses. 

However, several other factors can also cause Cataracts. The other factors include:

  • Family history of Cataracts
  • Eye injury
  • Past eye surgery
  • Smoking
  • Excessive sun exposure without proper eye protection
  • Medical problems like Diabetes
  • Medications like Corticosteroids

The development rate of Cataracts is different for everyone, and doctors cannot predict how quickly a person’s Cataract will develop.

Get regular checkups to monitor your eye health and detect potential issues.

Explore and understand the causes of Cataracts in detail. Read: “What causes Cataracts (causes of Cataracts)

Cataract symptoms

Blurry vision
Blurry and cloudy vision

Identifying the symptoms of Cataracts helps in early detection and effective treatment of the condition. 

Early detection helps preserve one’s eye health and quality of life.

Some common Cataract symptoms include:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Changes in your vision prescription
  • Trouble in reading, especially small text 
  • Double vision
  • Color vision changes
  • Light glare (halos or streaks)
  • Trouble seeing at night

Consult an eye expert if you experience any of the above symptoms and get an eye test.

Want to explore the symptoms of Cataracts in detail? Read: Exploring Cataract Symptoms: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Types of Cataracts

The various types of Cataracts include Nuclear Cataracts, Cortical Cataracts, Senile Cataracts, and more.

However, the types of Cataracts are divided based on two factors- the location of the Cataract and the causes of the eye condition.

Understanding the different types of Cataracts is important for selecting the most effective treatment plan. 

Let us explore the different types of Cataracts in detail.

Nuclear Cataracts

Nuclear Cataracts are the most common type of Cataracts and affect the central nucleus of the eye lens. 

The condition increases the refractive power of the eye lens and may make people nearsighted.

Also, the cloudy part of the lens may become yellowish or brownish over time.

Other symptoms of Nuclear Cataracts include blurry vision, low contrast sensitivity, and more.

Discover more about Nuclear Cataracts. Read: Unveiling Nuclear Cataract: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Senile Cataracts

Senile Cataracts are a type of Cataract caused by natural aging and are also known as age-related Cataracts. 

The four stages of Senile Cataracts include- Incipient Cataracts, Immature Cataracts, Mature Cataracts, and Hypermature Cataracts.

Due to natural aging, the eye lens may become milky and opaque.

The symptoms of Senile Cataract include low visual clarity, photophobia, halos around eyes, and more.

Want to learn more about age-related Cataracts? Read:Senile cataract

Cortical Cataracts

Cortical Cataracts
A closeup of an eye suffering from Cortical Cataracts

Cortical Cataracts are a specific type of Cataract that affects the edges of one’s eye lens.

However, the Cortical Cataract gets closer to the center over time and may cause vision problems.

The patients may not notice any symptoms in the early stages of the condition.

However, severe cases of Cortical Cataracts may lead to blurry vision, glare sensitivity, double vision, and more.

Want to explore more about Cortical Cataracts? Read: Cortical Cataract: A Comprehensive Guide

Congenital Cataracts

Pediatric or Congenital Cataracts occur when infants are born with Cataracts or develop them within a year.

The World Health Organisation states that Congenital Cataracts have affected about 14 million children around the world.

This type of Cataract is normally genetic, and the symptoms include white cloudiness on the pupil, difference between the two eyes, and more.

Concerned about your baby’s eye health and want to explore Congenital Cataracts? Read: All About Congenital Cataracts: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Warning:
Injuries or complications during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing Congenital Cataracts. Consult an expert for proper care.

Posterior Polar Cataract

The Posterior Polar Cataract (PPC) is a rare eye condition that affects the back of the eye’s lens. 

The condition is a rare type of Congenital Cataract that can affect a person’s distance and near vision.

The symptoms of Posterior Polar Cataract include glare, halos, trouble reading small text, and more.

Want to learn everything about Posterior Polar Cataract? Read: Posterior Polar Cataract: A Complete Guide

Sunflower Cataracts

Sunflower Cataract is a specific type of Cataract that has a sunflower-petal-like appearance. 

The condition may cause vision problems by making one’s eye lens yellow or brown.

Sunflower Cataract is a serious condition as it often occurs as a result of Wilson’s Disease.

Want to know about how Cataracts can take the form of a sunflower pattern? Read:Sunflower cataract

Glossary:
Wilson’s Disease: A rare disorder that may lead to copper buildup in various parts of the body like the brain, liver, eyes, and more.

Secondary Cataracts

Secondary Cataracts are a common complication of Cataract surgery.

The condition happens when the capsule that holds the artificial lens in place becomes cloudy.

It is also known as Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) and can mimic the Cataract symptoms.

Want to discover more about Secondary Cataracts? Read: “Secondary cataract

Cataract treatment options

Eyelid surgery (Blepharoplasty)
Image of eye doctor performing cataract surgery

The treatment of Cataracts depends on its severity and how it affects one’s daily life. 

The two treatment options for Cataracts are prescription eyeglasses, Cataract surgery, and lifestyle changes. 

Mild early-stage vision loss can be treated by changing the prescription for glasses. 

However, the doctor may recommend Cataract surgery to help treat the eye condition and improve vision. 

The surgery is a safe option as its success rate is around 90% to 95%.

The different types of Cataract surgery include Extracapsular Cataract Extraction, Phacoemulsification, and Intracapsular Cataract Extraction.

However, the doctors may also prescribe antibiotics, steroids, and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help with the Cataract surgery side effects

Healthy lifestyle options can complement one’s Cataract treatment or help prevent Cataracts

The lifestyle changes include quitting smoking and drinking, protecting eyes from UV rays, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular eye checkups. 

Consult an expert for proper eye care tips.

Explore and understand different Cataract treatment options in detail. Read:Cataract treatment

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Key takeaways

A Cataract is an eye condition that clouds the eye’s natural lens and leads to blurred vision, photophobia, double vision, and more. 

Also, the common causes of Cataracts include genetics, aging, eye injury, smoking, and more. 

Understanding the causes and symptoms of the eye condition helps identify the type of Cataract and effective treatment.

The various types of Cataracts include Nuclear Cataracts, Cortical Cataracts, Senile Cataracts, and more.

Fortunately, the treatment options for Cataracts include prescription eyeglasses, Cataract surgery, and lifestyle changes. 

Consult an eye expert for a complete eye test and a proper diagnosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to go blind from Cataracts?

The development rate of Cataracts differs, and the time it takes for someone to go blind due to Cataracts depends on many factors. The factors include the severity and type of Cataracts. 
In some cases, vision loss may occur slowly over the years, while it may progress very quickly in some cases.

How long does Cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery is a quick procedure that takes around 30 to 45 minutes per eye. The surgery involves removing the cloudy eye lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

When should Cataracts be removed?

The doctors may recommend removing Cataracts when the cloudy vision affects one’s daily activities like reading or driving. Also, the doctors may suggest Cataract surgery when lifestyle changes or prescription glasses are insufficient.

Is Cataract surgery painful?

Cataract surgery is normally not painful as the doctors use local anesthesia eye drops to help reduce discomfort. Patients may feel small pressure during the procedure, but any possible discomfort is limited

How do you know if you have Cataracts?

A person may have Cataracts if they experience symptoms like blurred vision, photophobia, difficulty seeing at night, and more. Schedule an eye exam with an expert to diagnose and understand the severity of the condition.

Citations:
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