A cataract is the clouding of the eye lens that affects vision. Generally, it’s a function of maturity, or aging, as a clear lens in the eye becomes opaque, and becomes foggy. Just about everyone will develop cataracts if they live long enough.
For that reason, cataracts are more common than ever as the Baby Boomer generation reaches an age that cataracts develop.
There are different types of cataracts, including
• Posterior Subcapsular Cataract – This type of cataract occurs in the back of the lens. People taking a high dose of steroid medicines, or who have diabetes, have a greater risk of developing a posterior subcapsular cataract.
• Nuclear Cataract – These cataracts form deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens and are typically associated with aging.
• Cortical Cataract – Another age related type. Characterized by white, wedge-like opacities, this type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.
• Traumatic Cataract – Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
• Congenital Cataract – Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These cataracts may be so small that they do not affect vision. If they do, the lenses may need to be removed.
“Essentially you have a window in your eye and it gets dirty over time,” says Dr. Larry Malashock, one of six optometrists at Malbar Vision. “But the cure for a cataract is significantly easier than it was 30 years ago. Now, if you have blurry vision and you’re near-sighted, you take the lens out and you put a new lens in. And they don’t put an arbitrary lens in there, they put your prescription. So not only do you have a clear window now, but you also have an eye that’s perfectly focused at the same time. It’s a seven-minute procedure, and you come out of it and you can see great, without glasses.”