Cataracts can affect people 40 years of age or older. The organization, Prevent Blindness America (PBA), has estimated that as many as 30 million Americans will have cataracts by the year 2020. PBA also estimates that that there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined.
Developing a cataract is a very common part of aging. The surgery is among the simplest, safest procedures around. However, there isn’t just one main type of cataract, there are three:
Nuclear Cataract. A nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone (or nucleus) of the eye’s lens causing it to harden and yellow over time. A nuclear cataract changes the eye’s ability to focus, and, in fact, close up vision may temporarily improve. This is type of cataract is most associated with aging and considered the most common.
Cortical Cataract. This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus. This type can create blurred vision, glare, contrast and depth perception.
Posterior Capsular Cataract. This happens a the back of the lens, with diabetics or people taking high doses of steroid medications being at the highest risk of developing this type of cataract. This type can interfere with reading and create that “halo” effect and glare around lights.
June has been designated National Cataracts Awareness Month. If you’re over 40, right now is a good time to get a cataract screening to see how your eyes are functioning. But anytime is the right time when it comes to your precious vision.