Fast-growing cataracts? Aggressive cataracts? Fast-developing cataracts? If you’re accustomed to the idea that cataracts always grow slowly, you may be confused when you hear someone mention these kinds of cataracts.
Indeed, most cataracts do develop slowly. But if you’re asking yourself, “Can cataracts get worse quickly?” the answer is, unfortunately, yes, and it’s this type of aggressive, fast-growing cataracts that we’ll tackle here. There are also certain activities or conditions that can increase your likelihood of developing aggressive, fast-growing cataracts.
Slow-growing vs. fast-growing cataracts
There are three common types of cataracts, all of which are named for where they are located in relation to the lense. Two of these types, a nuclear cataract, and a cortical cataract, have slower cataract development.
As you might have guessed, nuclear sclerotic cataracts develop in the nucleus—or the center—of the lense. Meanwhile, cortical cataracts occur on the outside—or the cortex—of the lens.
As happens with macular degeneration, nuclear and cortical cataracts develop slowly and become more problematic with age.
The third common type of cataract, a posterior subcapsular cataract, occurs in the backmost layer of the cortex beneath the lens capsule. Unlike nuclear sclerotic and cortical cataracts, these cataracts are found more frequently in younger people and are fast-growing cataracts.
Additional types of fast-growing cataracts
Certain conditions and incidents can lead to cataract development and create their own less-common type of aggressive, fast-growing cataracts.
- Diabetes: These cataracts, also called diabetic snowflakes because of their shape and gray and white opacity, are fast-developing cataracts. These occur when an enzyme converts too much glucose into sorbitol, which affects lens clarity.
- Trauma: Trauma-related cataracts occur when your eye has endured either blunt or penetrating trauma that disrupts your lens fibers. Trauma-related cataracts are typically the most fast-growing type of cataracts.
- Radiation: Radiation-related cataracts, sometimes listed under trauma-related cataracts, occur after the lens has been exposed to radiation. Exposure to high levels of radiation can result in clouded vision in as little as two years. Exposure to lower levels of radiation can take over a decade to affect vision.
Any type of cataract, whether aggressive and fast-growing or a natural part of aging, grows opaque more quickly if an individual who partakes in smoking or uses corticosteroids regularly.
Treatment for fast-growing cataracts
At this point, you might be wondering, “How do you slow the growth of cataracts?” The first steps for slowing the growth of cataracts are to research how to avoid cataracts and/or how to prevent cataracts and learn practical steps for taking care of your eye health.
It’s also important to have regular eye exams and to be proactive in asking your doctor questions, such as “What are the early signs of cataracts?” or “Is cataract surgery safe?”
If you know you have cataracts and are looking for treatment options, don’t worry. With cataract treatment, there’s more than one way to skin a cat(aract). Your doctor can discuss which treatment options are best for your eyes, such as traditional cataract surgery or the iStent eye surgery (for patients with cataracts and glaucoma).
Counteract your cataracts
Eye Center of Texas has given thousands of Houstonians clear and renewed vision. Over 275 Houston-area eye doctors will refer their patients to Eye Center of Texas for their cataract questions and for safe, quality cataract surgery in Houston.
If you have questions about fast-growing or fast-developing cataracts or want to find out if cataract surgery is right for you, schedule an appointment at Eye Center of Texas today.