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What Causes Cataracts?

August 22, 2018

Cataracts are like grey hair. Almost everyone eventually gets a cataract, some at a young age and others at an older age.

Cataracts are usually a part of aging, but certain diseases or conditions may predispose you to developing a cataract at an earlier age.

Symptoms of Cataract

The natural lens is usually crystal clear when we are born. Light entering the eye passes through the clear cataract and gets focused on the retina. The retina is the light sensitive tissue that lines the inside of the eye. It is the retina which captures light and transmits this information to our brain to produce vision.

Cataracts usually develop slowly. The natural lens clouds with time causing a variety of symptoms. During early cataract formation, mild blurring of your vision may occur and a simple change in your glasses prescription may be needed to sharpen the vision.  With time, the cloudiness progresses causing:

  • Cloudy, blurred, dim vision
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Glare, especially with oncoming headlights
  • Halos around lights
  • Need for increased lighting to read
  • Frequent change in glasses (or contact lens) prescription
  • Fading or poor color vision

Not all cataracts cause the same symptoms. If you are having any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend you schedule a thorough eye examination with your eye doctor. Other eye conditions other than cataracts, may cause similar symptoms.

Causes of Cataracts

The most common cause of cataract formation is “age.” The older we get, the more likely we will develop a cataract. Most people will have had cataract surgery by the age of 80.

Certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, may cause cataracts at an earlier age. A few congenital disorders will cause cataracts earlier, too. Trauma, including previous retinal surgery, can advance cataract formation as well.

Other situations where cataracts may form earlier include excessive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity and chronic use of steroids.

If you are having symptoms of cataracts, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

If you would like to make an appointment with Drs. Whitten or Rose, you may CALL US or USE OUR CONTACT FORM.