What is a Cataract? – A Guide to its Types

Cataracts are a type of eye condition that is caused by the natural ageing process or may be present at birth. They cause cloudy vision and can lead to blindness as they progress. Cataract types vary in severity, so it’s important to work with an ophthalmologist to determine which type you have. 

It consists of 4 types:

1) Nuclear Cataract:

 The cataract grows from the center of the lens or nucleus.

  • The vision is blurred in all directions and may show nearsightedness.
  • There’s usually slight distortion when looking into light sources, such as headlights at night
  • It is very common for people with nuclear cataracts to develop cortical changes on the back of the eye.
  • It can be removed by surgery and is often done in conjunction with a lens replacement to replace their cloudy vision.

2) Cortical Cataract: 

The cataract starts at the back of the lens, closest to the retina.

  • The vision is blurred primarily in one direction, and nearsightedness increases as it progresses.
  • There’s usually no distortion when looking into light sources such as headlights at night. Cortical cataracts can also present with increased glare from lights or uneven peripheral vision.

3) Posterior Subcapsular Cataract: 

The cataract starts at the front of the lens, closest to light sources.

  • The distortion becomes more noticeable when looking into light sources such as headlights at night.
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts are typically diagnosed in people over 45 and can be removed by surgery if they’re causing any problems with vision. If left untouched, it will eventually spread to the whole lens.
  • Patients with posterior subcapsular cataracts have a higher risk of developing glaucoma and macular degeneration than those who don’t have any history of eye problems.

4) Mixed Type Cataract: 

The cataract is a mixture of both posterior subcapsular and nuclear. The individual types of cataracts can be difficult to separate. Patients who have mixed-type cataracts often need surgery soon after diagnosis because they may develop other eye problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or retinal detachment.

Which is the Most Commonly Occurring Cataract?

The most common form of cataract is called a posterior, or backward-curving. The lens in the eye becomes cloudy and lessens your ability to see close up. It typically starts at the far back part of the eye near where light enters (the retina). This type of cataract often develops slowly and does not typically cause any pain.

How to Prevent Cataracts?

The probability of cataracts is not related to age, but lifestyle choices may play a role. Studies show that changes in diet and level of physical activity can reduce the risk of the conditions. Additionally, wearing sunglasses regularly reduces sunlight exposure which plays an important role in reducing the prevalence of cataracts by protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays.


In conclusion, cataracts can be a difficult thing to handle since they can cause major problems with your vision. However, by knowing their different types and what they entail, you will be better prepared for how best to treat them. If you are experiencing any symptoms that could signify cataract formation or if you have already been diagnosed with cataracts, it is best advised to see a doctor as soon as possible.

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