What is a Cataract


 A Cataract is defined as any opacification of the crystalline lens or lens capsule.


There are approximately 20 types of cataracts, based on the location of the opacity within the lens or the color of the opacity.  There are anterior cortical, posterior cortical, anterior subcapsular, posterior subcapsular, nuclear sclerotic, snowflake, fleck, morgagnian, sutural, embryonic, posterior polar, oil drop, traumatic, etc…The most common forms being the cortical cataracts, nuclear sclerotic, and posterior subcapsular cataracts.

Risk factors:

Exposure to ultraviolet light – Increased risk of cortical cataract
Female – Increased risk of cortical cataract
Brown Iris – Increased risk of nuclear sclerotic cataract
Smoking (more than 15 cigarrettes/day) – Increased risk of nuclear sclerotic cataract
Steroid use – Increased risk of posterior subcapsular cataract


Cataracts are like looking through a dirty window.  Many patients note that they are continually cleaning their spectacles.  The most common complaint with cataracts is glare from oncoming headlights.  We also see reduction in distance vision (roadsigns, CNN ticker, etc) as well as difficulty with fine print.


The treatment for cataracts is surgical removal of the opacified lens.  At Capital Eye Consultants, Doctor Baldinger is our cataract surgeon.  With well over 20,000 cataract procedures under his belt, he is considered one of the top surgeons in our area.  He uses the most advanced clear-corneal incision technique to liquefy and remove the cataract and then put a replacement lens in the eye.  Surgical time is approximately 9 minutes.  Our surgeries are performed at Columbia /HCA Fairfax Surgical Center.  Doctor Baldinger has been operating there for over 25 years.  

After the surgery you will be sent home with a shield over the eye.  You can remove this when you get home, however, we want you to wear it whenever you sleep, for the first week after surgery, so that you don’t roll on the eye or rub the eye while sleeping . Routine activity such as bending and lifting objects that aren’t heavy and causing straining is permissable. Light weight lifting, walking, and light exercises are acceptable activities during the first week after surgery.  Full activity and sports can be started one week after surgery. You will be on eye drops for one month following surgery to prevent infection and inflammation.  Keep in mind that even though cataract surgery is the most successful surgery performed, there is always a small chance of complications.

Cataracts: Overview

Cataracts: Symptoms