How Do Cataracts Form?

Residents of Southwest Florida have been coming to Elmquist Eye Group for more than 25 years for the highest quality eye care, including cataract evaluations and surgery. Read on to discover how cataracts form and what can be done to treat them.

The Elmquist Team

How Do Cataracts Form?

Yasaira Rodriguez, MD is an experienced board certified eye surgeon specializing in eyelid surgery, refractive cataract surgery and in-office procedures.

Kate Wagner, OD, managing partner, and Nina Burt, OD are board certified optometrists who take pride in offering a unique blend of expert eye care and a passion for providing the best service to patients of all ages.

How Cataracts Form

A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens of your eye gets cloudy, but not all cataracts are the same. They form in different areas of the eye and have different symptoms.

  • Nuclear sclerotic cataracts form in the center, or “nucleus,” of the lens. They are the most common type of cataract and progress slowly as we age. The affect focusing and the ability to see colors correctly.
  • Cortical cataracts affect the cortex, or outside edge, of the lens. When performing and activity without proper lighting, you may experience blurred vision, glare, and poor depth perception.
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts begin as a cloudy area on the back surface (posterior) of the lens. This type of cataract creates a “halo” effect, which can cause you to see glare around lights and have difficulty reading.

Most of the time, cataracts develop in older adults, but according to the National Eye Institute, more than 24.5 million Americans over the age of 40 are affected by them.  By the age of 80, more than 50% of Americans have cataracts or have had cataract surgery to remove them.

Although most cataracts are age-related, they can also occur in babies (called congenital cataracts). And they can be caused by a traumatic eye injury, by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, by the use of certain medications, including prednisone and corticosteroids, and by certain diseases, such as diabetes.

How Cataracts Are Treated

The only way to treat cataracts is with surgery that replaces the clouded lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).

Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed in the U.S. today, with a success rate that exceeds 95%.  The traditional procedure is quick, most patients experience little or no discomfort, and clear vision is usually restored within a few days.

Elmquist Eye Group also offers refractive laser-assisted cataract surgery, a procedure that is designed to make surgery more precise, safer and more accurate by utilizing the same laser technology that is used for all-laser LASIK surgery. It enables Dr. Rodriguez to plan and customize each cataract procedure to the unique characteristics of each patient’s eye.

Schedule an appointment at Elmquist Eye Group to learn more about how cataracts form and what to expect from cataract surgery. Call us at (239) 936-2020. The Elmquist team will be delighted to help.