Cataracts are among the most common types of vision problems, but most people don’t know that there are several different types of cataracts. If you have been told that you have cataracts or are concerned that you do, following are a few things you might want to know.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract occurs when proteins in the eyes clump together and cloud an area of the lens. It makes part of your vision hazy, like looking through fog. They may grow larger over time, making it hard to see. You can have a cataract in one or both eyes.
Generally, cataracts form due to the normal aging process, but other risk factors for cataracts include:
- High blood pressure
- Heavy alcohol use
- Excessive sun exposure
Cataracts can be treated with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, or sunglasses. Protecting your eyes from sunlight is one way to slow down the development of cataracts.
A cataract only needs to be removed by surgery when the problem interferes with everyday activities, such as reading, driving, or watching TV. According to the National Eye Institute, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery by the age of 80.
Types of Cataracts
Although they generally have the same signs and symptoms, there are several different types of cataracts, based mostly on where they are located in your eyes and what caused them.
- Nuclear Cataracts: Located in the middle of the eye, they may cause the center to become brown or yellow.
- Posterior Capsular Cataracts: They are located at the back of the lens.
- Congenital Cataracts: Some people are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood. They’re usually small enough that they don’t affect vision.
- Traumatic Cataracts: They tend to develop slowly after an eye injury.
- Cortical Cataracts: They are found around the edges of the eye’s nucleus.
- Secondary Cataracts: They are caused by diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma. Cataracts also are sometimes related to steroid use.
- Radiation Cataracts: Radiation treatment for cancer could lead to cataracts in some cases.