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What Are the Three Types of Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. There are three main types of cataracts: Nuclear Sclerotic, Cortical and Posterior Subcapsular. 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 or 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.

If you are experiencing vision troubles, contact Pacific Eye Institute at 800-345-8979 to schedule an appointment and discuss treatment options. During an examination, our doctors can determine if you are developing a cataract or if another issue is affecting your eyesight.

Common Vision Challenges by Age

20 - 40
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40 - 50
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50+
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