Cataracts are a common eye condition characterised by the clouding of the lens. Age is generally considered to be the primary factor causing cataracts, but the truth is a little more nuanced. Let's dive into the different types and what you can do to reduce your risk.
Nuclear cataracts affect the centre of the lens and are often associated with ageing. A nuclear cataract is a type of cataract that forms in the nucleus, which is the central zone of the lens of the eye. This form of cataract is most commonly associated with aging. As the cataract progresses, the lens becomes increasingly opaque, causing it to turn yellow or even brown over time. This change in colour can affect the individual's ability to distinguish between shades of colour, particularly in low-light conditions.
Cortical cataracts form on the edges of the lens and are characterised by white streaks. A cortical cataract is a type of cataract that forms in the cortex of the eye's lens. The cortex is the outer layer of the lens, surrounding the central nucleus. Cortical cataracts are characterised by white, wedge-like opacities that start at the periphery of the lens and work their way towards the centre in a spoke-like fashion.
Posterior subcapsular cataracts occur at the back of the lens and can develop rapidly. A posterior subcapsular cataract is a type of cataract that forms at the back of the lens, directly in the path of incoming light. It starts as a small, opaque area near the centre of the lens, right on the backside, or posterior, in the subcapsular region. This type of cataract can interfere significantly with your vision, affecting your ability to see objects both at a distance and up close.
Congenital cataracts are present at birth; these are usually genetic or caused by infection during pregnancy.
So what can you do to reduce your risks?
A reduction in your blood pressure or better management of your pressure helps. Eating healthy foods, especially those rich in antioxidants like ascorbate, vitamin E, and pyruvate, can be used for prophylaxis against cataracts. Avoiding smoking and reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes also help reduce your risks.