We all probably know of senior citizens who have undergone cataract surgery. It is one of the common ocular conditions one hears of from older parents, their friends and our elderly relations. As lay persons we may not know that cataract may be caused by a number of reasons and has different presentations in people. Let’s take a look at what age-related/senile cataract is, the types of age-related cataracts, and the causes of this ocular condition.
Senile cataract starts out with the mild opacity--or loss of transparency and clouding--of the optical lens, gradually progressing to thickening or swelling of the lens, concluding with the shrinkage of the lens and complete loss of transparency, if gone untreated.
Depending upon the extent of damage to the eye lens, senile cataract is classified as:
• Immature senile cataract
At this stage the eye lens begins to become opaque and the optic disc view is hazy. The cortex remains clear. It is an incomplete cataract.
• Mature senile cataract
At this stage of cataract, the lens has thickened with protein deposition and there is total opacity of the entire lens. There is no disc view.
• Hyper-mature senile cataract
This is also known as Morgagnian cataract. By now, the whole lens capsule has shrunk and the contents have turned solid and wrinkled or soft and liquid. In most cases, the cortical matter is liquefied.
Senile cataract may also affect the center of the lens known as the nucleus. Senile nuclear cataract is yet another classification where the nucleus may present opacity of a specific color. The hardening of the nucleus occurs rather gradually. A person can detect the start of the process as they see glare and halos on or around objects they see. (Source: Livestrong.com; Article Title: Types of Senile Cataract; Author: Suzanne Robin; Last Updated: 2nd February, 2010; URL: http://www.livestrong.com/article/78866-types-senile-cataracts/). It may progress to loss of contrast in colors--especially identification of difference between dark blue and black and between blues and purples--that they see and eventually result in the development of hazy vision.