EyeWise Vision Clinic

Knowing the Stages of Cataract Formation and Development

A cataract can affect anyone, but certain factors make some individuals more susceptible. In most cases, this condition is prevalent among those over 60. Factors such as diabetes, smoking, and prolonged sun exposure can increase the risk of cataract formation and development. 

The impact of cataracts goes beyond blurred vision; it can affect your everyday activities and quality of life. When left unmanaged, cataracts can develop into different stages that affect how you see and function. As such, it’s essential to be aware of the different signs of each cataract stage so you can get the care and treatment needed to manage the condition.

How Does a Cataract Develop?

Here’s what you should know about the different stages of cataract formation:

Stage 1: Early Cataract

The early stage of cataract development might go unnoticed as symptoms are subtle. The lens of your eye remains clear, but your ability to focus between near and far vision starts to become compromised. This is a result of the inflexibility of the lens that happens with age. Vision may seem slightly blurry, and sensitivity to light can increase. 

Stage 2: Immature Cataract

As cataracts progress, the immature stage sets in, leading to more noticeable signs. Proteins will have started to cloud the lens of your eye, making it more opaque than before. Night vision may also start being affected, causing difficulty driving in low light conditions. Moreover, you might have difficulty with close work tasks, including reading. 

Stage 3: Mature Cataract

At the mature stage of your condition, cataracts significantly impact daily life. Vision becomes severely blurred, and halos around lights may appear. You might have a hard time driving at night or in dark spaces. Prescription lenses and other visual aids may unlikely be enough to improve your sense of sight. As such, this is the stage where a cataract surgery must be performed.

Stage 4: Hypermature Cataract

Hypermature cataracts represent the advanced stage, causing severe vision impairment. The lens of your eyes will have hardened, making it more difficult to remove during cataract surgery. However, if left untreated, inflammation and pressure within the eye may occur, which could result in damage to the optic nerve and develop into a condition called glaucoma. When this happens, you may require glaucoma treatment.

Why Consider Cataract Surgery?

Undergoing surgery when advised by your cataract eye specialist can help prevent your condition from becoming so severe that it may affect your ability to see and function in your daily life. Moreover, timely surgical intervention ensures better outcomes, faster recovery, and a higher likelihood of preserving overall eye health. With the restoration of clear vision, you can resume activities that you may have gradually withdrawn due to visual impairment. 

These days, as healthcare progresses, cataract surgeries have evolved to become a more minimally invasive procedure. Therefore, you can expect minimal discomfort during and after surgery. For further insight, you can see our guide on the different types of cataract surgeries and their procedures.

When to Consider Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery becomes a viable option when the condition significantly interferes with daily life. If activities like reading, driving, or recognising faces become challenging, consulting with a cataract eye specialist is crucial. They can help you determine when the right time for surgery will be. Though you may not require treatment in the early stages of your cataract development, waiting too long to undergo surgery could risk impairing your vision in the long run.

Finding the Right Cataract Specialist in Singapore

Choosing the right eye surgeon is paramount for optimal treatment outcomes and long-term recovery. Therefore, make sure to look for an experienced eye care clinic in Singapore with qualified specialists. It’s important to consider the cataract specialist’s experience and expertise in the field, as well as the equipment they have available to ensure the safety and comfort of your procedure.

You can check out reviews online to see what patients have to say about the clinic. Another way is to get referrals from your physician, especially for patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions. That way, your physician can work closely with your eye care specialist on a treatment plan that can manage your overall health.

For more insight on cataract treatment, you can also check out whether cataract treatment is possible without surgery and what the interval between cataract surgery between both eyes should be.

Dr. Christopher Khng, specializes in Complex Cataract and Anterior Segment Reconstruction Surgery, in particular, Iris Reconstruction and surgery for Aniridia. His other areas of expertise include Complex Lens surgery, New Lens and Phacoemulsification technologies, Refractive surgery, Phakic IOLs (the Implantable Collamer Lens, ICL), and small-incision, topical anesthesia phacoemulsification cataract surgery. Dr. Khng is a member of the Singapore Medical Association (SMA), a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), and the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ECSRS). He is registered with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) in Singapore and with the General Medical Council (GMC) for practice in the United Kingdom.

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