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Incipient Cataract: Unveiling The First Stage of Age-Related Cataracts

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Age-related Cataracts are the prime cause of treatable blindness worldwide.

But have you ever wondered how this Cataract development begins?

Most age-related or Senile Cataracts develop slowly over the years. The initial stage of this  Cataract type is known as Incipient Cataract.

It is important to learn about the Incipient stage of Cataract development for an early diagnosis of your eye condition.

In this article, we will discuss in detail about the symptoms and treatment methods of Incipient Cataracts.

What is Incipient Cataract

As stated above, Incipient Cataract is the first stage of age-related Cataracts.

This stage is often regarded as the earliest phase of Cataract development, marked by subtle changes in the eye lens.

At this stage, the clouding in the eye lens due to Cataract is just beginning to form and may not be visible to the naked eye.

Hence, Incipient Cataracts are detected through a slit-lamp test or other comprehensive eye exams.

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Incipient Cataract Symptoms

Eye Pain and NauseaSource: AndreyPopov from Getty Images
women suffering form glaucoma

The symptoms of Cataracts at the Incipient stage may not be significantly noticeable among individuals.

Some common complaints at this stage include minor Cataract symptoms such as slightly blurry vision or marginal visual discomforts.

However, these minor symptoms can also indicate other eye conditions, such as Glaucoma or Keratitis.

Therefore, it is best to avoid self-diagnosis and undergo specialized eye tests to determine if you have an Incipient Cataract.

Avoid self-medicating for minor eye discomforts, as it may potentially worsen the symptoms, or lead to other severe side effects.

Types of Incipient Cataract

Based on the location of its formation, Incipient Cataract can be categorized into three types- Nuclear, Posterior, and Cortical Incipient Cataracts.

Depending on the specific eye condition, each of these Incipient Cataract types may display distinct symptoms among individuals.

Let us learn more about these three types of Incipient Cataracts below.

Nuclear Incipient Cataract

Nuclear Cataracts develop in the center area of the eye lens.

The Incipient stage of this type of Cataract involves changes in the central part of the lens, affecting its transparency.

The common symptom of Nuclear Incipient Cataract is gradual vision reduction near the center of the eye lens, known as Nuclear Sclerosis.

Cortical Incipient Cataract

Cortical Cataracts are the Cataracts that develop around the edges of the eye lens.

In the initial stages, this type of Cataract looks like clouding that starts from the outer edge and progresses toward the center of the lens.

Common symptoms of Posterior Incipient Cataract include slight glare or halos around lights.

These symptoms may be more noticeable at night as light scatters through the changing lens structure.

Posterior Incipient Cataract

Posterior Cataracts form at the back side of the eye lens.

The initial stages may not show significant symptoms. However, these cataracts often develop rapidly and may have a more noticeable impact on vision with time.

Individuals with Posterior Incipient Cataract may experience difficulty reading, sensitivity to light, and halos around lights.

Incipient Cataract Treatment

Eye checkup (follow doctor's advice)Source: AMR_Images_from_Getty_Images
Eye checkup (regular follow needed)

As Incipient Cataracts are in the nascent stage of development, Cataract surgery is often not needed for their treatment.

Generally, your doctor may recommend close monitoring through regular eye checkups to analyze the progression of the Cataract.

In some rare cases, you may need corrective eye lenses or medications to reduce the eye discomfort.

Corrective eye lenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, can help improve vision and alleviate the discomfort caused by early stages of cataract development.

However, if ignored, the Incipient Cataract may turn worse and advance to other severe stages of Senile or age-related Cataract.

Therefore, it is essential to consult an ophthalmologist for proper diagnosis and treatment of Incipient cataracts.

Did You Know?
Aging is the most common cause of Cataract development among individuals.


Incipient Cataract is the early stage of age-related Cataract development.

This stage is often undetectable to the naked eye and is detected only through comprehensive eye exams such as slit-lamp tests.

At this stage, the symptoms of Incipient Cataract are minor eye discomfort and blurry vision.

As the Cataract development is at its primary stage, surgery may not be required to treat Incipient Cataracts.

The treatment at this stage mostly involves monitoring the Cataract development through regular eye tests.

It is essential to consult an ophthalmologist to avoid further progression of the eye condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes Incipient Cataracts?

Incipient or early-stage Cataracts are mainly caused due to aging. The body’s natural aging process may result in the accumulation of protein lumps in the eye lens.
This leads to the development of early-stage Cataracts.

What is the difference between Incipient and Immature Cataract?

Incipient Cataract is the first stage of Senile Cataracts, where the eye lens clouding is just beginning to form and often unnoticeable.
On the other hand, Immature Cataract is the second stage of Senile Cataracts. This stage is associated with observable clouding in the eye lens.

How is Incipient Cataract diagnosed?

Incipient Cataract is diagnosed through eye exams such as slit lamp tests, visual acuity tests, or retinal examinations.
It is important to undergo these tests under the supervision of a certified eye doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Is surgery required for an Incipient Cataract?

No, surgery is generally not required for Incipient Cataracts. As the Cataract development is in its early stage, doctors may recommend monitoring the eye condition to analyze further progression of the eye condition.
However, certain rare cases may accelerate quickly and require immediate medical intervention.

Can you prevent Incipient Cataracts?

No, there is no proven way to prevent age-related Cataracts, even in the early stages like Incipient. 
However, certain measures, such as wearing protective eyeglasses and avoiding UV rays exposure, may reduce the risk of developing Cataracts due to injuries or trauma.

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Photo of author Janet Fudge
Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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