What are the Different Types of Cataract?

29 June 2023

Author: Sean Andah

There are several types of cataracts, each with their own unique characteristics and causes. Understanding the different kinds of cataracts is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. 


From age-related cataracts that develop gradually with aging to congenital cataracts present at birth, traumatic cataracts resulting from eye injuries, secondary cataracts post-cataract surgery, diabetic cataracts associated with diabetes, and specific types like nuclear sclerotic and cortical cataracts, each type requires specific management strategies to restore clear vision. Exploring these different forms of cataract lets individuals gain valuable insights into their condition and make informed decisions regarding their eye health.


Age-related Cataract

Age-related cataracts are the most common occurring, often developing gradually over time as a result of aging. They occur due to the natural deterioration of proteins within the lens, leading to clouding. Age-related cataracts typically affect both eyes and tend to be accompanied by symptoms such as blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing in low-light conditions.


Congenital Cataract

Congenital cataracts are present at birth or develop shortly after. They may occur due to genetic factors or infections during pregnancy, such as rubella. Congenital cataracts can impair vision in infants and young children, potentially leading to amblyopia ("lazy eye") if left untreated. Prompt diagnosis and treatment, including surgery, are crucial in managing congenital cataracts to prevent long-term vision problems.


Traumatic Cataract

As the name suggests, traumatic cataracts result from eye injuries, such as blunt force trauma or penetrating injuries. These cataracts can develop immediately after the injury or years later. Traumatic cataracts often require surgical intervention to remove the clouded lens and restore vision, depending on the severity of the injury.


Secondary Cataract

Secondary cataracts, also known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO), can occur after cataract surgery. In some cases, a thin layer of cells may grow over the back of the artificial lens implant, leading to blurred vision and visual disturbances. This condition can be easily treated with a quick, painless laser procedure known as YAG laser capsulotomy.


Diabetic Cataract

Individuals with diabetes may develop cataracts at an earlier age than usual and experience a more rapid progression in cataract formation compared to those without diabetes. Diabetic cataracts occur due to high blood sugar levels that cause changes in the structure of the eye’s lens, leading to clouding. Attentive management of blood sugar levels and timely surgical intervention will help to manage diabetic cataracts effectively.


Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract

Nuclear sclerotic cataracts mainly affect the central (nuclear) region of the eye’s lens and are often associated with aging. They are characterized by a gradual yellowing and hardening of the lens, leading to a gradual decline in close vision and an increased dependence on the use of reading glasses.


Cortical Cataract

Cortical cataracts start as whitish, triangular shapes that extend from the edge of the lens towards the center. These areas of opacity may look like the spokes on a bike. Cortical cataracts can cause glare, halos, and difficulties with contrast sensitivity, especially in bright lighting conditions.


No matter the type of cataract you may have, all cataracts can significantly impact vision and quality of life. If you suspect you have cataracts or experience changes in your vision, it is important to consult an eye care professional who can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as surgery, to restore clear vision and improve your overall quality of life. Our clinics provide a range of excellent cataract treatments for private and NHS patients


Learn more about our private cataract treatments at https://www.optimax.co.uk/cataract-surgery/ or speak to your GP or optician to select us as your preferred provider for NHS care.

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