Other Causes of Cataracts Besides Getting Older

March 9th, 2016
doctor examining eye

The most common causes of cataracts is simply getting older, and there is no 100%-sure way of knowing who will or will not develop cataracts with age.

Although responsible for the majority of cataracts, age is not the only factor in the formation of a cataract.

According to the National Eye Institute, other causes of cataracts include the following:

  • Secondary Cataract – This type of cataract forms after surgery or other problems with eye health. For example, those with diabetes, glaucoma, kidney disease, or previous eye surgery may develop cataracts.
  • Traumatic Cataract – A traumatic cataract typically develops after an eye injury, which may span years after the original injury.
  • Congenital Cataract – Some infants may be born with cataracts, which progressively gets worse with age.
  • Radiation Cataract – Exposure to radiation, such as radiation exposure to X-rays, tanning beds, or cancer treatments, can lead to the development of cataracts in one or both eyes.

How Does a Cataract Form?

Cataracts form within the lens of the eye. The lens rests just behind the colored portion of the eye. It is responsible for focusing light onto the retina of the eye, which allows for the transmission of nerve signals to the brain for interpretation. With age, the lenses of the eyes grow more rigid, thicker and less transparent. Certain age-related changes eventually lead to the clumping together of proteins in the lens, which starts to cloud small areas of the lens. As the cataracts develop, the clouding becomes denser and affects a greater portion of vision.

What Increases the Risk For Developing Causes of Cataracts?

Aside from the causes of the aforementioned types of cataracts, certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing cataracts. These factors include the following:

  • Living with diabetes or another metabolic condition.
  • Drinking alcohol in excess.
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight and UV radiation.
  • A family history of cataracts.
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications.
  • High blood pressure.

Although age-related cataracts can be inevitable, you can reduce the likelihood of suffering from cataracts by understanding what the factors of other causes of cataracts that may increase your risk for developing cataracts.

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