There are several types of cataracts, each affecting vision in its own distinct manner. Last week, we outlined the Warning Signs of Subcapsular Cataracts. This week, we are going to address a different type of cataract, the Nuclear Cataract.
What is a Nuclear Cataract?
A nuclear cataract is the most common type of cataract, beginning with a gradual hardening and yellowing of the central zone of the lens, also known as the nucleus. Over time, this hardening and yellowing will expand to the other layers of the lens.
What Causes a Nuclear Cataract?
Nuclear cataracts typically develop as the result of aging. This is why a nuclear cataract is sometimes referred to as an age-related nuclear (ARN) cataract.
Signs and Symptoms of Nuclear Cataracts
- Nuclear cataracts result in the hardening and yellowing of the nucleus of the lens.
- Nuclear cataracts cause light to scatter when it passes through the lens, decreasing the amount of light that reaches the retina.
- When a nuclear cataract first develops, it can bring about a temporary improvement in your near vision, called “second sight.”
- Nuclear cataracts interfere with a person’s ability to see objects in the distance.
- Nuclear cataracts may make it more difficult to drive at night.
- Nuclear cataracts can result in the loss of color discrimination ability.
- Nuclear cataracts can result in monocular diplopia, which is double vision in only one eye.
- Nuclear cataracts may induce other eye problems, such as myopia.
If left untreated, these symptoms will increase in severity, eventually leading to severe vision loss that can only be restored through surgery.
If you feel you may be experiencing any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Any sudden change in your vision is a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical attention from your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
A consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable Ophthalmologist will help determine if you have cataracts and, if necessary, guide you through your cataract treatment options.
To learn more about Nuclear Cataracts and Proper Eye Health, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrist Dr. Nathan Frank, and the eye care specialists at Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or by contacting us.
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the Anne Arundel Eye Center offers comprehensive specialized ophthalmic exams as well as diagnostic pre and post-surgical eye care. Specializing in glaucoma and cataracts, Dr. Boles has helped restore and preserve thousands of patients’ vision.
Vision problems may be a natural part of aging. Losing your vision doesn’t have to be.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.
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arthur straus says
I am a 70 year old male and I was diagnosed with nuclear cataracts last November. I am still able to see fairly well with my glasses and I am able to drive at night. Will it make the surgical procedure more difficult if I wait until I have difficultity seeing clearly? Also, I am currently taking Tamsulosin for BPH and a caution listed with the medication states to inform the doctor if you plan to have cataract surgery. How long should I wait to have the surgery once I discontinue using the med.
I am 45 (female) and have recently been diagnosed with nuclear cataracts. My eyesight is only somewhat blurry at times – is it certain that all nuclear cataracts will eventually lead to blindness, or does that occur only in a small percent of patients ?
Lillian Schaeffer says
This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that nuclear cataracts make it harder to drive at night. I was driving home with my mother last night, and she was having trouble seeing, but it didn’t seem particularly dark to me. I’ll definitely let her know that that’s a symptom of cataracts so she can see a professional right away and get that taken care of. Thanks for the great post!
Clarice Taylor says
Is the development of nuclear cataracts at 45 years considered age related? Thank you.
Anne Arundel Eye Center says
There are different types of cataracts and different reasons they may form so we would need to perform an exam to help determine your specific diagnosis. Please contact us and we would be happy to schedule an appointment with you.
Thank you for explaining some of the signs of nuclear cataracts. I’ve been wondering if I might have this later in life because it runs in my family. I’ll have to keep these symptoms in mind so that I can notice the early signs.