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Many people, especially those who are older, will develop cataracts in their lifetime. A cataract is a clouding in the lens of the eye that causes blurry vision. They are formed when proteins in the lens clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens.

There are several different types of cataracts. Each type is based on where and how it develops in the eye.

  • Age-related:  Cataracts are most likely to develop as you age, though they are not limited to the elderly, and the exact causes are not entirely clear. Your risk of developing cataracts can be increased by smoking, drinking too much alcohol, a family history of cataracts, an eye injury, diabetes, and long-term use of steroids. As soon as you notice a change in your vision, you should consult your ophthalmologist or optometrist.
  • Congenital: Congenital cataracts are present at birth, and are either inherited through genes or the result of an illness during pregnancy.  These should be treated as soon as possible, or they inhibit the brain’s development and cause permanent vision loss.
  • Secondary: Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma. They can also can develop in people who have other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.
  • Traumatic: Traumatic cataracts develop when an injury to the eye disrupts the fibers that make up the lens.  They can be commonly linked with damage to other parts of the eye, which can make them more difficult to treat than other types of cataracts.  
  • Radiation: Radiation cataracts are caused by regular exposure to radiation such as through medical x rays, and is most common in cancer patients treated with radiotherapy.

If you think you are showing cataract symptoms, you should visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist to get an eye exam. Common symptoms include: cloudy vision, trouble seeing at night, sensitivity to glare or double vision, fading or yellowing of colors, frequent changes in your eye care prescription, and seeing a halo effect around lights. Cataracts can develop slowly over time, but it is best to see your doctor as soon as you notice a change in your vision. Cataracts may also only affect one eye, but generally they are found to develop in both eyes simultaneously.

If you have already developed one of these types of cataracts, you may want to consider cataract surgery to correct it. Not all cataracts require surgery, but it is an option for many. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes a half-hour or less and lets you get back to your normal activity level within a few days.

Whether you have already developed cataracts or think you may be showing symptoms, you can visit our Kentucky optometrists and ophthalmologists who are located in Lexington, Corbin, Cynthiana, Jackson, Maysville, Middlesboro, Morehead, Mt. Sterling, Paintsville, and Versailles. Our offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m Monday through Friday. Call us today schedule an appointment!