A Clearer View

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

Are Cataracts Contagious?

by Damion Wasylow 21 March 2019 03:31 AM

elderly father laughing with son on park bench
Until a friend or loved one is diagnosed, most people know very little about cataracts. That’s when the homework starts. One of the most common questions is, “are cataracts contagious?” It’s natural to want to understand your own risk of developing the condition. After all, without surgery to replace the eye lens, cataracts can permanently rob you of your vision.

So, let’s address that critical question. Are cataracts contagious?

No, not at all.

For most people, the cause of cataracts is aging, plain and simple. As we get older, the eye lens naturally thickens and becomes less transparent. 50% of people have some level of cataract development by the time they turn 80-years-old. By age 95, nearly 100% of people have vision loss due to cataracts. And the effects can start much earlier in life.

A handful of factors can increase your likelihood of developing of cataracts. Over-exposure to sunlight, smoking, heavy alcohol use and taking certain medications have been shown to increase your risk. Genetics is also a major contributor. If close family members have cataracts, you are more likely to also develop them. It’s even possible for children to be born with congenital cataracts as a result of genes passed down from their parents.

So, while cataracts are not contagious, if you live long enough, you’re almost assured to experience them for yourself one day. The good news is that vision loss due to cataracts is correctable.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common elective surgeries performed in the United States, and it has an extremely high success rates. Approximately 3 million Americans have cataract surgery each year, with 99.5% experiencing minor or no postoperative complications.

Whether the patient opts for traditional or laser-assisted cataract surgery, the basic procedure is much the same. The surgeon makes a small incision in the cornea and inserts a probe to break up the cataract-damaged lens. The pieces are then suctioned out and a new intraocular lens implant is put into place. The lens implant is artificial, and therefore not susceptible to future cataract damage. Once the surgery is done, you never have to worry about cataracts again.

If you or someone you love is dealing with cataracts, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today for a consultation. Our practice offers state-of-the-art cataract diagnosis and treatment, including laser-assisted cataract surgery using the LenSx system. Our own Dr. Gregory Snodgrass was the first local eye surgeon to use this advanced surgical system.

Call us today at 352-373-4300.



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