I had a patient come in yesterday wanting an eye exam to have her cataract checked because she remembered her last eye doctor mentioned she had one. She was experiencing some decline in her vision and was curious to see if her cataract had gotten worse. When I dilated her eyes, I noticed she had both anterior cortical and nuclear sclerotic cataracts. I took a picture of it for her to see and I explained to her that the reason why her vision was so blurry was because she had to look through both a yellowish filter (as a result of the nuclear sclerotic cataract) and linear opacities (as a result of the anterior cortical cataract). These “obstructions” can also cause problems with glare, especially with night driving. She was surprised to learn that a lens could have multiple types of cataracts, but I’m glad I had the chance to educate her with pictures of her own eye.
For those who are curious, here are some examples of the most common types of age-related cataracts based on the part of the lens affected:
1. nuclear sclerotic (affecting the central portion of the lens)
2. cortical (affecting the outer layer of the lens)
3. subcapsular (affecting the outer capsule of the lens)
Some patients will have one type which may progress to multiple types of cataracts. Each type of cataract also causes blur and glare to different degrees and they also tend to progress at different rates. Depending on the type(s) and severity of your cataract, your eye doctor may recommend follow-up visits every 3, 6, or 12 months.