What Is Nuclear Sclerosis?

October 21st, 2020

Nuclear sclerosis occurs when the central part of the eye’s lens, known as the nucleus, begins to cloud, yellow and harden. Generally considered part of the eye’s natural aging process, nuclear sclerosis is incredibly common. As people get older, new fibers form that make up the material around the lens, compressing older fibers toward the center and scattering the light that enters. This results in a dense, cloudy, possibly yellowed appearance. Read on to learn more about nuclear sclerosis and what a diagnosis could mean for you. [1]

Who Gets Nuclear Sclerosis?

Nuclear sclerosis is common in the elderly. Much like age-related macular degeneration and other conditions that affect seniors, the risk of nuclear sclerosis increases with age. The age factor has led to the use of the term “senile nuclear sclerosis” as well, though this usually refers more specifically to cataracts (more on that to come).

Is Lenticular Sclerosis the Same Thing?

Yes, technically, lenticular sclerosis is the same thing as nuclear sclerosis. However, lenticular sclerosis is typically used only for veterinary medicine, as this condition also affects cats, dogs and horses — it’s responsible for the grey or blue haziness that forms in your elderly pets’ eyes. Luckily, lenticular sclerosis does not usually have a noticeable impact on animals’ vision.

Nuclear Sclerosis vs. Cataract

If you think the description of nuclear sclerosis sounds similar to a cataract, you’re not far off. So, what is the difference between nuclear sclerosis and cataracts? If the lens becomes clouded enough by nuclear sclerosis, it can form a cataract. A nuclear sclerotic cataract is one of the three types of cataracts that are age-related — these are also collectively known as “senile cataracts,” and the nuclear form is considered a direct result of senile nuclear sclerosis. [2]

Nuclear Sclerosis Symptoms

When suffering from nuclear sclerosis, you’ll experience the following:

  • Blurry near vision
  • Decreased ability to read or view things up close

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract Symptoms

A nuclear sclerotic cataract can lead to:

  • Temporarily improved vision known as “second sight”
  • Gradually more intense yellowing, hardening and clouding of the lens
  • Difficulty when driving or seeing things that are far away
  • Faded perception of colors and sensitivity to light

Is Nuclear Sclerosis Painful?

Generally, nuclear sclerosis is not painful. However, it can be frustrating for older adults who must deal with it, especially for those who are avid readers. If it progresses far enough to form a cataract, your vision might deteriorate significantly, but you’re unlikely to experience pain.

Is Nuclear Sclerosis Treatment Necessary?

While cataracts might get bad enough to require lens replacement surgery, nuclear sclerosis itself does not usually need that much intervention. The following are some effective forms of nuclear sclerosis treatment:

  • Using reading glasses
  • Staying current on eye exams and prescriptions
  • Avoiding driving after dark
  • Wearing sunglasses that prevent glare

The simple fact is that nuclear sclerosis is something that tends to happen with age. It’s not something to fear — just something to be aware of. Always get your eyes checked regularly and heed your doctor’s advice. [3]

Let Focus Labs Help with Your Eye Care As You Age

While you might not be able to avoid nuclear sclerosis, there are steps you can take for the care of your eyes that may help halt its progress. At Focus Labs, you’ll find a variety of affordable eye care products that might make the aging process a little bit easier. Such as TOZAL, a dietary supplement that goes beyond the AREDS 2 formulation to support ocular health.  Contact us if you have any questions about TOZAL or any of the FOCUS family of products.

Citations:

  1. What Is Nuclear Sclerosis? https://www.healthline.com/health/nuclear-sclerosis
  2. Cataract Surgery – FAQS: What is nuclear sclerosis? https://vetmed.iastate.edu/services/vth/clinical/ophth/faq-vet.asp#sclerosis
  3. Condition of the Lens https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?meta=Generic&pId=8768&id=3850252

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