How Old Are You When Cataracts Start Forming?

April 7th, 2016
Recovered cataract surgery patient with husband

Depending on a variety of factors, which include age, lifestyle, occupation and injuries, cataracts may form in one or both eyes. Cataracts usually grow denser with age, and age is the most common factor in the development of cataracts.

Cataracts Can Develop Any Time.

Most people associate cataracts with aging after 70. More than 50 percent of US adults over age 65 have cataracts. However, the exact time when these cataracts begin to form varies. Cataracts most commonly start to develop between the ages of 50 and 70. Sometimes they may develop earlier if an eye injury occurs or if a person develops a medical condition.

What Causes a Cataract to Block Vision?

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. When looking through a cloudy lens, vision seems fuzzy, like looking through a thick fog.

What Causes Cataracts to Form?

Cataracts are classified as one of five types. These include the following:

  • Age-related cataracts generally become evident after age 65.
  • Secondary cataracts arise after surgery, eye-related conditions (e.g. glaucoma) or other medical conditions. The most common medical conditions that may result in cataracts include diabetes and kidney disease.
  • Traumatic cataracts develop after an injury or invasive procedure to the eye results in scarring of the cornea. Traumatic cataracts that develop after surgery may also be classified as secondary cataracts simultaneously.
  • Radiation cataracts may develop after exposure to radiation. For example, exposure to radiation during a career or as part of cancer treatment may result in cataracts.
  • Congenital cataracts do not appear to have a cause. However, congenital means “born with,” and anyone could be born with cataracts. However, a mother’s medical history or other health conditions may contribute to the development of congenital cataracts.

Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

Cataracts, in general, cannot be prevented, especially those that are age-related. However, annual eye exams can preempt their onset before vision loss becomes severe. To find out more about cataracts and how they are treated, check out our Cataracts page or schedule a cataract screening here online or call 800.714.2020.

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