What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions in the world, affecting millions of people each year. Cataracts are characterized by clouding the eye’s natural lens, leading to blurred vision and other visual impairments. 

While cataracts are often associated with aging, they can also occur due to a variety of other factors, including genetics, trauma, and certain medications. Understanding the causes of cataracts is essential for preventing and treating this condition. 

Keep reading to learn more about this eye condition and the various causes of cataracts!

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a very common eye condition. They are characterized by a clouding of the natural lens in the eye, which can cause blurred or distorted vision, difficulty seeing in low light, and other visual impairments. 

When you are first diagnosed with cataracts, you may not experience many symptoms. However, as they advance and grow, cataracts will eventually begin to significantly affect your vision and your ability to perform everyday tasks.

Once the symptoms of cataracts start interfering with your daily routine, your eye doctor will recommend cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to eliminate cataract symptoms.

Cataracts are usually associated with aging. However, they can also be caused by a variety of other factors, including genetics and trauma.

What Causes Cataracts to Form?

The cause of cataracts can vary depending on the type of cataract you have. At Berg Feinfield Vision Correction, our cataract surgeons can perform cataract surgery and help to restore your vision, regardless of the type or cause of the cataract.

Age-Related Cataracts

Age-related cataracts are some of the most common types of cataracts. These types of cataracts are caused by changes in the proteins in the lens of the eye that occur as part of the normal aging process. 

Over time, the proteins inside the eye’s natural lens can clump together and cause the lens to become cloudy, leading to the formation of a cataract. Additional factors that can contribute to the development of age-related cataracts include exposure to UV light, smoking, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes. 

Congenital Cataracts

While age-related cataracts are associated with the later stages of life, congenital cataracts are present at birth or develop during early childhood. Although rare, congenital cataracts can be caused by various factors, including genetic mutations, infections during pregnancy, and metabolic disorders.

The underlying cause of congenital cataracts is not known in every case. If left untreated, congenital cataracts can cause significant vision loss, making early diagnosis and treatment essential for preserving a child’s vision.

Traumatic Cataracts

While most cataracts form due to the natural aging process, cataracts can develop earlier in life due to eye injury, surgery, or other trauma to the eye or surrounding structures. Blunt trauma, penetrating injuries, and exposure to radiation can all cause damage to the lens of the eye, leading to the formation of a cataract. 

Unlike age-related cataracts, traumatic cataracts can occur at any age. If you experience an eye injury, a cataract may not form immediately. 

However, the injury may cause a cataract to develop earlier than typical.

Can You Prevent Cataracts From Forming?

While some risk factors for cataracts, such as aging and genetics, are beyond our control, there are several steps that individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing cataracts early. It’s best to avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption, wear UV-protective sunglasses, protect your eyes from injury, and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Regular eye exams can also help detect cataracts early on, allowing your eye doctor to monitor their progress and recommend timely cataract surgery. While cataracts cannot be prevented, taking these steps can help reduce the risk of developing this common eye condition earlier in life.

Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Berg Feinfield Vision Correction in Burbank, CA, today!