Common Causes of Cataracts

Cataracts refer to the cloudy occlusion of the eye’s natural lens. Although cataracts occur most often in the elderly, anyone, at any age, can develop a cataract.

What Causes a Cataract to Form?

Just behind the colored part of the eye (the iris), rests the lens. The lens focuses incoming light into a distinct, sharp image onto the retina. As a result, the retina transmits information from this image to the brain via the optic nerve. With age, each part of the eye’s anatomy can be susceptible to issues. A cataract forms when the lens becomes thicker, more rigid and exceedingly opaque. Incoming light is no longer able to focus onto the retina properly, resulting in loss of vision.

What Are Other Types of Cataracts?

A secondary cataract may form after surgery or experiencing other eye health problems. This type of cataract is commonly found in those with diabetes, eye injury, glaucoma or other metabolic disorders.

A traumatic cataract develops after traumatic injury to the eye.

When someone is born with a cataract, the cataract is referred to as a congenital cataract.

Exposure to radiation may also induce the formation of a cataract, known as a radiation cataract.

Can You Reduce the Risk For Cataracts?

While cataracts can occur in anyone without apparent reason, certain lifestyle choices or health problems may increase the chance of developing a cataract:

  • Diabetes, kidney disease, endocrine disorders or another metabolic condition
  • High blood pressure or congenital heart defects
  • Excessive alcohol consumption or tobacco use
  • Overexposure to sunlight or artificial UV lights (tanning beds)
  • Having a genetic history or family history of cataracts
  • Being overweight
  • Using corticosteroid – especially in eye-drop form – over an extended period of time

Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to know if you will develop a cataract or how to prevent them, but the good news is that regardless of the cause, Mann Eye Institute can help. To learn more about cataract removal, schedule a consultation or chat live with us now.

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