Nuclear Cataract

Cataracts are defined by the opacification of the natural crystalline lens inside the eye. Depending on the type of cataract, patients may be asymptomatic at first as some cataracts take years to develop. Some patients will then complain about moderate loss of vision. Treatment is always surgical. The natural lens is removed (cataract extraction) and replaced by an implant, usually a posterior chamber intra-ocular lens, or PCIOL. There are different subtypes of cataracts depending on their cause and/or location:

  • Senile cataract: the type of cataract everyone develops at some point if they live long enough. Senile cataracts usual affect the nucleus and are called nuclear cataracts. They take sometimes 20 years to mature.

  • Posterior sub-capsular cataract are rarely due to age: they often are the results of treatment with steroid medications although some patients have naturally occurring posterior sub-capsular cataracts. They tend to progress very rapidly and affect vision tremendously because of their central nature on the visual axis.

  • Traumatic cataract : as the name suggest, after a violent trauma to the eye or the head, one can develop a traumatic cataract at any age. They tend to develop fast and then be stable .

  • Cortical Cataracts; they affect the mid layers of the crystalline lens called cortex. We usually see them in older patients as part of the aging process. 

  • Secondary cataract: they happen after a patient undergoes cataract surgery. The implant is placed in the natural sac which tends to opacify with time. This is treated with a YAG laser , to clean up the opaque membrane covering the implant or intra-ocular lens