Understanding the Causes of Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which can lead to blurred vision, light sensitivity, and other visual complications. The development of cataracts is most commonly age-related, however, there are other factors that can contribute to their progression. During your visit to Broberg Eye Care, we will review your medical and vision history and discuss the causes of cataracts. At our Austin, TX, practice, we have been helping patients understand all aspects of their condition for over 30 years, helping them make more informed decisions about their care. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
After the age of 40, your eyes can begin to experience significant changes. Aging can cause the proteins in your eye to clump together, clouding a portion of the lens. This clouding prohibits light from passing through to the retina. Furthermore, the lens of the eye generally becomes less flexible as we age, which can lead to difficulty when focusing on nearby objects. The lens may also change from transparent to a yellowish or brownish tint. This can make it difficult to discern colors and also negatively affect the sharpness of your vision.
Some patients are born with cataracts or develop them as children. Congenital cataracts can occur in a newborn when his or her mother develops an infection during pregnancy, such as measles or chicken pox. Genetics or an injury to the eye in childhood can also lead to their development.
There are a number of medical conditions that can contribute to the development of cataracts, with diabetics being at a particularly high risk. Patients with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop this condition than those who are not diabetic. Diabetes can also cause patients to develop cataracts at a younger age, and the condition may progress more rapidly.
Certain lifestyle habits may increase your risk of developing cataracts, including:
- Smoking: Research has shown that smokers are more likely to develop the condition at an earlier age than non-smokers.
- Alcohol consumption: Consuming alcoholic beverages may slightly increase the risk of developing cataracts, and this risk expands with more excessive drinking.
- Long-term exposure to direct sunlight: Ultraviolet (UV) light can cause cataracts to develop over time, so it is important to wear sunglasses and take other preventive measures.
- Steroid medications: Research has linked excessive steroid use to the development of cataracts.
- Trauma: In some patients, cataracts develop as a result of an injury to the eye.
Your doctor will review the lifestyle factors that can affect cataracts development to determine if you may be at a high risk.
In some cases, a secondary cataract will develop after undergoing cataract surgery. During this procedure, the clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). The membrane surrounding the natural lens is left largely intact during the surgery, and the IOL will be implanted within. A secondary cataract forms when epithelial cells grow around the capsule after surgery, clouding vision. Fortunately, secondary cataracts can be effectively treated using laser technology.
Schedule an Appointment to Learn More
During your visit to Broberg Eye Care, we will take the time to educate you about the potential causes of cataracts. No matter if the condition is congenital or related to your age or medical history, we offer comprehensive treatment options to help restore your vision. Contact our practice to schedule a consultation.