Accessibility Tools
Types of Cataracts

Types of Cataracts

What are the Types of Cataracts

There are three primary types of age-related cataracts:

  • nuclear sclerotic
  • cortical
  • posterior subcapsular

As a person ages, any one type, or a combination of any of these three types, can develop.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

Nuclear Sclerotic CataractsNuclear Sclerotic Cataract is the most common type of Cataract. As we age cataract can the lens can harden and become more yellow and opaque.

"Nuclear" refers to the clouding of the central portion of the lens (nucleus) and "sclerotic" refers to the lens’ hardening.

Stages of Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

As a Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract progresses slowly and can take years.

As the development progresses Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract changes the eye's ability to focus. In some incidences reading and close vision can temporarily improve. This is referred to as "second sight," but unfortunately, this improvement is not permanent.

Cortical Cataracts

Cortical CataractsCortical Cataract affects the white opacities, or cloudy areas, that develop in the outside edge of the lens cortex.

Changes in the water content of the lens fibres create fissures, that look like the spokes of a wheel pointing from the outside edge of the lens in toward the centre.

Effects of Cortical Cataracts

These fissures can cause the light that enters the eye to scatter, creating problems such as:

  • blurred vision
  • glare
  • contrast
  • depth perception

Who are at risk of Cortical Cataracts

People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing cortical cataracts.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

Posterior Subcapsular CataractsPosterior Subcapsular Cataracts begin as a small opaque or cloudy area on the back surface of the lens. The Cataract forms beneath the lens capsule, which is a small membrane that holds the lens in place.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts can develop quickly and symptoms can become noticeable within months.

Effects of Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts can

  • interfere with reading
  • create "halo" effects
  • glare around lights

Who are at risk of Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

People who are at increased risk for Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts include:

  • steroid users
  • diabetics
  • the extreme nearsighted and patients with retinitis pigmentosa may develop this type of cataract

Your Next Step

If you observe any eye changes or cloudy vision Dr James Chau-Vo can offer advice on a possible diagnosis, further investigations and suitable treatment.

We would advise that you see your general practitioner to obtain a referral to see Dr Chau-Vo at Sydwest Eye Specialists and arrange an appointment now for peace of mind and body.

Dr Chau-Vo is a specialist ophthalmic surgeon in Sydney who is focused on conditions and treatments for the Cataracts and other eye problems.

Eye Specialists

54 Hughes St
Cabramatta, NSW 2166


  • the university of sydney
  • the royal australian and new zealand college orthopaedic
  • UNSW
  • South Western Eye Care