Cataracts are a common condition that may lead to complete vision loss if left untreated. It occurs when the normally clear natural lenses in the eyes become thick and opaque. This causes the vision to become cloudy, foggy, or blurred and may also affect how color is perceived. One who has cataracts may also be overly sensitive to lights and may have trouble seeing at night.
There are different types of cataracts that develop for different reasons. In order to treat this condition properly, an optometrist must first diagnose the type of cataracts a patient has. These are the different types of cataracts and what causes them.
Subcapsular cataracts form in the back of the lens in your eye. This type of cataract is often caused by other health conditions, such as diabetes. It is also a common condition that those who have used steroidal medications frequently develop.
Nuclear cataracts occur in the center of the lens of the eye, known as the nucleus. Nuclear cataracts normally occur due to old age and is very common in the elderly. This is the most noticeable form of cataracts because it makes the eye appear as if it has a white, filmy covering over the center.
Cortical Cataracts form in the cortex of the lens of the eye which surrounds the nucleus. This type of cataract involves a white, opaque film that starts at the edges of the lens and moves towards the center. Those who have cortical cataracts may not notice the difference in their vision until the condition is more advanced and the cataracts have nearly spread to the center of the eye.
In the early stages of cataracts, the optometrist may attempt to improve the vision with prescription glasses or contact lenses. However, this condition worsens in time and can only be cured completely by cataract surgery. When cataract surgery is performed, the cloudy lens is surgically removed from the eye. It is then replaced by a clear artificial lens that the patient can see through clearly.
At one time, cataract surgery required a patient to be put under general anesthesia and remain in the hospital for a few days. However, advances have been made in cataract surgery so that now it can be done as an outpatient procedure. Mild anesthetic eyedrops are commonly used before the surgery and the patient does not usually endure significant pain afterwards.