General symptoms of cataract: blurry vision when looking at objects in the distance and a temporary improvement of vision when looking at objects up close; poor night vision, and in some cases, poor vision in very bright conditions; glare; dimmed color vision.

Symptoms of senile or age-related cataract:

Discomfort in the area of clouding (if the clouding is in the center of the eye, it will cause more discomfort than if it is in the peripheral); decrease in visual acuity, accompanied by a foggy sensation; spots; photophobia, etc.

Common symptoms of congenital cataract:

In infants, one or both of the pupils are white, generally noted by the parents; the infant may not respond to color stimulation or light stimulation (the cataract decreases reflective glare); the infant may not note the presence of objects in certain areas of the visual field.

Symptoms of traumatic cataract:

Progressive clouding, although it can remain unchanged, and more rarely can be regressive; the cataract is often associated with other injuries, such as a trauma, and so is an inflammatory process.

Recommended treatments

There are several different types of medication available to prevent cataracts. Though highly recommended, these medications have never been effective.

The best and only definitive treatment for cataracts is surgery. At present there are no effective medications, eye drops or dietary supplements that prevent or slow the appearance of cataracts.

Surgery should be considered when the loss of vision impacts the everyday life of the patient. It is not advisable to put the surgery off, as the possibility of complications during surgery increase with time.

If the senile cataract is not operated on, it can develop to maturity. This process can cause serious problems in the daily life of the patient who suffers from the cataract.

As the cataract does not generally develop progressively in cases of congenital cataract, surgery is generally not carried out until the patient is 10 to 15 years old. In some cases, early intervention is necessary to prevent major damage. The decision to undergo surgery is influenced by whether or not the opacity is unilateral or bilateral.

In the case of traumatic cataract, surgical intervention is only possible in those cases in which the clouding is progressive and which cause a decrease in visual acuity. On the other hand, if a foreign body is present, surgery is essential and urgent. This type of cataract tends to cause more problems with visual recovery than the other types.