What is a Cataract?

cataracts-eye-conditionA cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye which causes a decrease in vision. Cataracts most often occur from age related changes to the natural lens of the eye. According to the National Eye Institute, it is estimated by 80 yrs of age, more than half of the American population has a cataract or has had one removed. There are more cases of cataracts world wide than any other eye disease. Some studies suggested that smoking and diabetes can increase a person’s risk for developing a cataract.

Symptoms of Cataracts:

A common symptom of cataracts is difficulty seeing changes in contrast which can negatively impact driving, reading, and recognizing faces. Other symptoms include:

  • Faded colors
  • Blurred / cloudy vision
  • Double vision
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Glare or unusual halo around lights
  • Frequent changes in prescription eye wear

Types of Cataracts:

There are several types of cataracts, some more rare than others. Below are the three most common types of cataracts:

  • Nuclear Cataract – This type of cataract, most often associated with aging, forms deep in the nucleus or central zone of the lens. As the cataract progresses the lens turns yellow to brown and becomes very dense.
  • Cortical Cataract – Identified by white wedge-shape opacities this type of cataract begins on the lens edge and works its way to the nucleus. Individuals with this type of cataract often report problems with excessive glare.  
  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataract – Forming as a small opaque area at the back of the lens, this type of cataract is more common in individuals with diabetes and individuals taking high doses of steroid medications.

Cataract Treatment:

In its early stages, cataracts can be treated with prescription eyeglasses and anti-glare sunglasses. Once a cataract progresses to the point where vision loss is interfering with daily activities, cataract surgery is the best option.

At Johnson Optometric we follow cataracts until they are ready to be removed, and then we refer to local ophthalmologists for surgery. We provide pre- and post-operative care during this process.