Types of Cataracts

Cataracts can dramatically impact the quality of your vision. The majority of cataracts are senile cataracts, those that develop as a result of aging. As they grow, they will create vision effects specific to the type of cataract, making it easy to identify which type you have. Other cataracts develop as a result of injury to the eye or as a complication of eye surgery. Unfortunately, no matter what type of cataract you have, there is only one treatment available: cataract surgery. Modern cataract surgery can restore your vision, not just removing the cataracts but freeing you from the need for reading glasses or bifocals.

This page contains background information about cataracts that can help you understand the symptoms you are experiencing. However, the only way to learn about your treatment options and what kind of results you can expect is in consultation with an experienced cataract surgeon. For a free consultation about cataract surgery and your potential results, please call or email the Kelly Laser Center in New York.

Types of Cataracts Caused by Aging

The most common cause of cataracts is aging. Although the mechanism of cataract formation has been extensively studied, no one is quite sure what causes cataracts to form. Most people experience cataracts in their 60s or 70s, though they can form earlier. Once the eye’s lens becomes clouded by cataracts, it cannot be made transparent again. The only treatment is to remove the lens with cataract surgery.

Cataracts formed by aging are classified by their location:

  • Nuclear cataracts form in the center of the eye, gradually deteriorating your vision, including visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and your ability to distinguish colors
  • Cortical cataracts begin by clouding the periphery of your lens. As this cataract grows inward, it forms spokes that can deflect and scatter light, causing starbursts or glare.
  • Postcapsular cataracts form on the back of the sac or capsule that contains the lens. These cataracts might not manifest symptoms until well developed, but when they do, you will often experience significant glare, starbursts, and other debilitating visual artifacts.

Which type of cataract forms in your eye depends on the chemistry of your lens and various other factors, such as whether you have diabetes or have used certain types of drugs.

Other Causes of Cataracts

In addition to aging, cataracts can form due to other causes. Some other causes of cataracts include:

  • Secondary cataracts, also known as post-capsular opacification, are postcapsular cataracts that can occur after your primary cataract surgery. These can be easily treated with a laser capsulotomy.
  • Traumatic cataracts occur after the eye experiences a blunt or penetrating trauma or chemical exposure.
  • Congenital cataracts are when children are born with cataracts. Depending on the severity, these may be left in place or removed.
  • Radiation cataracts are caused by intense exposure to various types of radiation, including ultraviolet light.

To learn about treatment options and what kind of results you can expect from your cataract surgery, please contact New York City cataract surgeon, Dr. James Kelly, at the Kelly Laser Center in New York today to schedule a free cataract surgery consultation. Serving Manhattan, Long Island, and all of New York City.