A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. There is no way to prevent the development of cataracts and currently, the only way to treat them is to surgically remove the natural lens in the eye.
The lens is composed of layers like an onion. The outermost is the capsule. The layer inside the capsule is the cortex, and the innermost layer is the nucleus. A cataract may develop in any of these areas and is described based on its location in the lens:
A nuclear cataract is located in the center of the lens. The nucleus tends to darken changing from clear to yellow and sometimes brown.
A cortical cataract affects the layer of the lens surrounding the nucleus. It is identified by its unique wedge or spoke appearance.
A posterior capsular cataract is found in the back outer layer of the lens. This type often develops more rapidly.
Early symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, glare, and difficulty reading. Cataracts generally progress very slowly, and surgery may not be needed for many years, if at all. In some cases, periodic changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription may be all that is needed to continue to provide you with good vision.
Waiting to have surgery won’t harm your eyes. The decision to proceed with surgery versus waiting and watching is primarily based on the amount of difficulty you have, performing your usual daily activities and is up to you.
When considering cataract surgery, you need to ask yourself:
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