A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Top Causes and Treatments for Cataracts

by dwasylow 14 May 2014 01:17 AM

Cataracts are one of the more common vision problems, and occur when a clouding of the eye lenses prevent light from being properly focused onto the retina. When this happens, vision can be highly impaired or rendered virtually non-existent. Blurry or hazy vision, difficulty seeing at night and sensitivity to light are just a few common cataract symptoms.

So, what causes cataracts in the first place?

Aging

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Most cataracts develop as a result of age. As we get older, proteins in the eye lenses degrade, creating thicker and less transparent lenses. By age 80, more than 50% of people have some degree of cataract. By 95, cataracts affect nearly 100% of people.

Injury

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There’s a good reason closing your eyes is a reflex when you’re at immediate risk of injury. Eyes are delicate. Blunt trauma injuries can cause lens tissues to thicken and whiten. In severe injuries, tissues around the lens can be damaged, allowing fluids from other parts of the eye obstruct vision.

Genetics

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Genetics impact nearly every area of health, including our risk for cataracts. It’s even possible for children to develop cataracts as a result of genes passed down from their parents. Genes that produce early-life cataracts often result in other health conditions as well.

Sunlight

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Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your eyes in multiple ways, including cataracts. Studies show that wearing UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re young helps reduce the risks of developing cataracts as you age.

Medications and Alcohol

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Research indicates that medications including corticosteroids, miotics and triparanol can induce or increase the risk of cataract development. Heavy alcohol intake may also play a role in the formation of cataracts, but studies have yet to determine to what extent.

Smoking

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As if you needed another reason to kick the habit, smoking cigarettes has been shown to make people twice as likely to develop one type of cataracts (nuclear sclerotic) and three times as likely to develop another form (subscapular).

 

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