While cataract surgery is one of the most performed procedures in the world, many people aren’t aware that there are different types of cataracts. Some ways of classifying them are by the location of the cloudiness and the means of acquisition. Knowing the different types may help you spot symptoms faster and seek treatment quicker.
7 Different Types of Cataracts You Should Be Familiar With
Before delving into the different types, let us first define what this disability is. A cataract refers to the opacification of the crystalline lens of the eyes. Cataracts are the most common cause of visual impairment in the world. In fact, there are studies estimating that 50% of people aged 60 and above suffer from this eye condition. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, 50% of the 38 million blind people in the world are blind due to cataracts.
Different Types of Cataracts
1. Nuclear Cataracts
Nuclear cataracts are the most common type of cataract experienced by the population. This type starts with a gradual hardening and yellowing of the lens’ nucleus. This hardening and yellowing will extend to other layers of the lens over time. Nuclear cataracts, also called age-related nuclear cataract, typically develop as the result of aging.
2. Cortical Cataracts
Cortical cataracts occur as wedged-shaped opacities in the periphery of the eyes’ lens. These opacities gradually work their way to the center of the lens like spokes. This type develops in the lens cortex — the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.
3. Posterior Capsular Cataracts
This type develops faster than the first two types. Posterior capsular cataracts form at the back of the lens. Diabetic people and patients taking steroid medications in high doses have a greater risk of having this type of cataract.
4. Congenital Cataracts
Congenital cataracts are lens opacities in newborn babies. This type of cataract covers a wide severity spectrum. Some congenital cataracts do not progress, therefore not impairing the patients’ vision. On the other hand, there are cases where they cause significant visual damage.
5. Secondary Cataracts
Secondary cataracts develop because of existing diseases and medications. Glaucoma and diabetes are a few diseases strongly linked to the occurrence of cataracts. Medications-wise, the use of the steroid prednisone can lead to the formation of cataracts.
6. Traumatic Cataracts
Traumatic cataracts develop after either blunt or penetrating injury to the eyes. Ocular injuries can disrupt the lens fiber, leading to the clouding of the lens.
7. Radiation Cataracts
As its name suggests, radiation cataracts happen to patients undergoing radiation treatments. Patients can notice symptoms of this kind of cataract as early as one to two years after high-dose radiation exposure.
To know more about these different types of cataract, watch this video from Learning in 10 below:
Noticing some cloudiness in your eyes can be pretty alarming and upsetting. It’s important to remember that a cataract is not a tumor nor a tissue growth that forms over the cornea. Consult a doctor right away if you’ve noticed possible signs of a cataract.
Did you find this article informative? Ask us anything in the comments section below!