Most cataracts do not require
surgery. In general, if the reduced vision
from the cataract does not interfere with your
activities, surgery may not be needed.
Surgery is also not needed if changing your
glasses allows you to see well enough to do the
activities that are important to you.
Although it is rare, sometimes a cataract can
grow so much that the eye doctor can not see the
back of the eye. A cataract can also cause
glaucoma. In these cases, surgery may be
Your eye doctor will help determine whether or
not you require cataract surgery.
The most common type of cataract is a nuclear
cataract which starts to develop in the center of
the lens (nucleus). Many people over age 60
have a mild form of nuclear cataract. As a
nuclear cataract gets worse, it makes the eye more
"nearsighted." This is often
referred to as the "second sight." when an
older person can read without glasses.
The next most common type of cataract is a
cortical cataract. Its is located in the
outside margins of the lens (cortex). Nuclear
and cortical cataracts are more common in older
The third most common tope of cataract is a
posterior subcapsular cataract. It is found in
the back part of the lens. These cataracts are
more common younger people. However, each type
of cataract can occur within any age group.
Cataracts can occur in children at the time of
birth, or can develop in the first few years of
life. Often, there is a family history of
cataracts at an early age, an earlier injury to the
eye, or rubella (German measles) infection in the
mother during the first three months of pregnancy.
If a child does not see clearly and does not use
both eyes together during the first seven years of
life, one eye will become lazy (amblyopia). If
a child has a dense cataract, it may need to be
removed within the first few months of life.
This may prevent amblyopia. Young children
with cataracts should be examined by an
ophthalmologist (a medical eye doctor) as soon as