Types of Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. There are four types of cataract: Nuclear Sclerotic, Cortical, Posterior Subcapsular and Congenital. The types of cataracts are classified based on where and how they develop in the eye.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract: A nuclear sclerotic cataract refers to the hardening of the nucleus, the center, of the lens of the eye. In the early stages of this condition, the lens becomes cloudy and yellow before eventually hardening (sclerosis is the medical term for hardening). As this type of cataract progresses, it changes the eye’s ability to focus and see clearly.

Cortical Cataract: A cortical cataract is a condition in which areas of white cloudiness will develop in the outer edges of the lens called the cortex spreading inward and having the appearance of a spoke wheel or a star pattern. This condition scatters the light entering the eye and causes blurred vision and glare as well as difficulties in judging contrast and depth perception.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataract: Posterior subcapsular cataracts begin as a small, cloudy or opaque area on the back (posterior) of the lens. It is called subcapsular because it develops on the underside, beneath the lens capsule. The lens capsule is a sac-like membrane that encapsulates the lens and holds it in place. If this condition begins to develop it usually does so rapidly and symptoms may be noticed within just a few months of it first beginning. When developing a posterior subcapsular cataract, a person may begin to notice a glare or halo effect around lights and may also notice difficulty when reading.

Congenital Cataract: Unlike most cataracts, a congenital cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that occurs in a developing baby at some point during pregnancy and is present at birth. Congenital cataracts are rare and are typically associated with certain birth defects.

If you are experiencing vision troubles, contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or medicaleyecenter.com to schedule an appointment and discuss treatment options. During an examination in Medford, our doctors can determine if you are developing a cataract or if another issue is affecting your eyesight.

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