Cataract Progression Rate:

4 Stages of Cataract Development

Cataract progression varies with each individual and is dependent on the type of cataract and other accelerating risk factors such as age, exposure to UV rays and use of certain medications. Understanding the different stages of cataract development is useful in planning treatment.

Stages of Cataract Progression

 

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NORMAL

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IMMATURE

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MATURE

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HYPERMATURE

Stage 1: The Early Stage

In the early stage, the lens remains clear but the ability to focus at distance and then refocus on near objects is slowly lost.

 

Steps to take

Symptoms

Early warning signs

  • Mild blurring or clouding
  • Increasing eye strain
  • Increasing light sensitivity
  • Early appearance of glare

A cataract in the early stages of development may be rectified with:

  • New glasses
  • Anti-glare sunglasses
  • Magnifying lenses
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Stage 2: The Immature Stage

At this stage, lens opacity is enough to noticeably obstruct vision. If the eye is illuminated from the side, the edge of the pupil casts a shadow on the lens.

Symptoms

Blurred vision | Dimmed vision | Double vision

Steps to take

A cataract in the immature stage of development may be rectified with:

  • Brighter light
  • Frequent eyeglass prescription changes
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Stage 3: The Mature Stage

A mature cataract causes the lens to become completely white or deep amber in color. The iris edge no longer casts a shadow.

Symptoms

Same as in the immature stage, but more severe and alters quality of life.

Steps to take

See an optometrist or ophthalmologist at your earliest convenience for possible surgical correction (i.e. removal of the cataract).

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Stage 4: The Hypermature Stage

At the hypermature stage, the lens becomes shrunken with white spots and occasionally may partially dislocate or suffer from secondary glaucoma.

Symptoms

Significant blur | Loss of vision

Steps to take

See an optometrist or ophthalmologist at your earliest convenience for possible surgical correction (i.e. removal of the cataract).

Types of Cataracts

The progression rate varies depending on the type of cataract you have been diagnosed with.

 

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Nuclear Sclerotic

These cataracts form deep in the nucleus. The yellowing and hardening of the central portion of the crystalline lens occurs slowly over years.

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Cortical

These cataracts have white opaque “spokes” that start to affect peripheral vision and works toward the center. Progression is variable, with some progressing over yearsand others in months.

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Posterior Subcapsular

Progression is variable but tends to progress more rapidly than nuclear sclerotic cataracts. They affect diabetics and people who use high doses of steroids.

Risk Factors

In addition to the type of cataract, there are also compounding risk factors that may increase the rate of cataract progression.

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INCREASING AGE

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SMOKING

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OBESITY

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HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

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PROLONGED USE OF CORTICOSTEROID MEDICATIONS

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EXCESSIVE EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT

Early Treatment is Key

 

If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, or if you are worried that you may have an undiagnosed cataract in either eye, the best thing to do is consult your eye doctor on treatments and steps you can take to manage the progression of cataracts.

 

For the best results, contact acataract specialist today.