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What is a posterior subcapsular cataract

While cataracts are a common condition that is usually related to the aging process and occur over many years, there is one type that differs from the norm. Known as a posterior subcapsular cataract, it can occur relatively quickly (over months) and has some known risk factors.The following is a simple guide to the condition, as well as comparing it to the other—more common—types of cataracts

All About Posterior Subcapsular Cataract

  • What is a posterior subcapsular cataract?
  • Causes and risk factors
  • Treatment for posterior subcapsular cataract

What is a posterior subcapsular cataract?

A posterior subcapsular cataract, or PSC, occurs when proteins clump together at the rear portion of the natural eye lens. While it is considered relatively common, it’s the least likely one to occur of the three regular types of cataracts (with the other two being cortical and nuclear) and is found in around 3% of people. The clumping proteins of a PSC cause opacities in the lens, causing the light rays entering the eyes to scatter. This means less reaches the retina and vision is reduced. PSC can occur rapidly, over a few months. There are a variety of medical conditions and risk factors for this type of cataract—it can occur in younger people more than any other type of cataract.

Causes and risk factors

While PSC does account for a small number of age-related cataracts, they are known to have exacerbating circumstances. These include:

  • Medical conditions, including diabetes or skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids
  • Eye inflammation, caused by conditions, such as retinitis pigmentosa, uveitis, radiation exposure, and trauma
  • Excessive exposure to UV radiation
  • High myopia (shortsightedness)
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet

Treatment for posterior subcapsular cataract

Similarly to other types of cataracts, PSC is treated by removing the diseased lens and replaced with an artificial one—known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Such an operation will be actioned when the cataract reaches a certain size. PSC is classified into 3 stages:

  • PSC 1+ - when it’s between 1mm-2mm in size
  • PSC 2+ - 2mm-3mm
  • PSC 3+ - more than 3mm in size

The surgical procedure is simple and has a virtually 100% success rate. The op is usually carried out in the doctor’s office, takes around 15 minutes, and you’ll be awake for the procedure. Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing as analgesic eye drops will be administered, perhaps with some sedation as well, if deemed necessary. You’ll return home that day. Depending on the type of IOL you have inserted, you may or may not require eyeglasses afterward. The recovery period is around 8 weeks in total.There are some steps you can take to help reduce your risk of developing PSC, even if you have some risk factors. These include:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing any alcohol intake to recommended levels or below
  • Eat a healthy, varied diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • Take a vitamin supplement to ensure a good intake of vitamins C, D, and E.

Having regular eye examinations is also paramount—and that’s whether or not you’re predisposed to developing posterior subcapsular cataracts. That way, cataracts, and any other eye conditions will be diagnosed at the earliest opportunity. Your ophthalmologist will be able to monitor them, providing treatment at the optimal time to allow you to benefit from the best eyesight possible at all stages of life.

Worried About Posterior Subcapsular Cataract or Any Other Kind? Contact the WBEC Today

If you’re looking for world-leading treatment for any type of cataract, then welcome to the West Boca Eye Center. Led by globally renowned cataract surgeon, Brent Bellotte MD., the clinic is one of the best on the planet for cataracts and all areas of eye health.No matter what your concern is, you’re guaranteed the ultimate care and attention—something that’s apparent from the very first contact.Find out more at and call our expert team today. We’ll be delighted to take your call.

What is a posterior subcapsular cataract
What is a posterior subcapsular cataract

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West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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