Age-related cataracts affect older people and are by far the most common form of cataracts. In the UK, about one in three people over the age of 65 have a cataract, with men and women being equally at risk. Often, both eyes are affected, though one eye may be worse than the other.
Age-related cataracts often form gradually over many years. As the effects are gradual, many people with an early-stage cataract don’t realise, as their eye has no cloudy patches. In some people, the cataract won’t become too severe, but in most cases, vision becomes gradually worse over time.
Congenital cataracts (present at birth)
These are uncommon and often diagnosed early. A congenital cataract stops the eye from learning to see, and since vision is learned very early on in infancy, these can cause blindness that may persist even if the cataract is removed later in life. As such, a congenital cataract needs to be removed as soon as possible after birth.
Other types of cataract
Cataracts can stem from an injury to an eye or as a result of radiation exposure, although this is rare. Cataracts can sometimes develop as a secondary problem for people with diabetes or other eye conditions