While cataracts most often develop in older adults, age is not the only reason for cataracts. There are many reasons why younger adults and even children can develop cataracts. Keep reading to learn why!
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural eye’s lens. Without a cataract, the lens should be clear and easy to see through. The lens is made up of water and protein.
It handles focusing vision while still allowing light to pass through to the retina. When we age, the protein in the lens breaks down and clumps together, creating issues in our vision.
This can manifest in a blurring of vision, glare, and dimness of colors.
There are three types of cataracts: nuclear, subcapsular, and cortical. A nuclear cataract forms in the center of the lens.
A subcapsular cataract forms at the back of the eye’s lens. A cortical cataract forms in white triangular shapes. This kind of cataract grows from the outer perimeter of the lens and moves in towards the center.
This type of cataract forms in the cortex of the lens. The three types of cataracts share many similar symptoms, but may also affect eyesight differently.
Causes of Cataracts
Aging is the most common reason for someone to develop cataracts, but it’s not the only one. There are many other reasons this could occur. There is no such thing as being too young for cataracts.
Certain medications may increase your risk of developing cataracts. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and smoking may also increase your risk of developing cataracts.
Injury to the eye can also trigger cataract development. Some people are even born with cataracts or will develop them at a very early age.
These are called childhood cataracts or congenital or developmental cataracts, respectively. Childhood cataracts are usually caused by genetics, infection, or injury. They are considered to be rare.
How to Prevent Cataracts
Unfortunately, there is no way to fully prevent cataracts from occurring. What you can do is prevent the early development of them.
One tip to follow is to shield your eyes from UV rays with UV protected sunglasses when outside. Too much exposure to the sun’s rays can lead to earlier development of cataracts.
A proper diet is also key. Try to eat foods high in antioxidants and Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and omega 3 fatty acids. This may help reduce your risk of developing cataracts.
The only solution for permanently dealing with cataracts is surgery. During cataract surgery, your surgeon makes a small incision in your eye.
After making the incision, pieces of the cataract are then pulled through. The lens is then replaced with a new artificial lens called an IOL (intraocular lens).
This is a simple and painless surgery with a very high success rate. It’s even possible to get IOLs that can help with vision impairments, making you less reliant on glasses.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of cataracts, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment at Arizona Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Glendale, AZ!
Cataracts do not need to be a permanent hindrance to your vision. Ask your doctor about treatment and if it’s time for cataract surgery to remove cataracts.