6 CAUSES OF CATARACTS

Dr. Jim Martin 06/16/2016

diabetes-bloodsugar-test.pngCataract is a condition that forms in the lens of your eye when proteins clump together and prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. This results in a wide range of symptoms, from hindered reading, to poor night vision and frequent changes in your prescription for glasses and contacts. While most cataracts are related to aging, there are other factors that can contribute to their formation.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to form cataracts than non-diabetics. When a person doesn't have good control over their glucose levels, high levels of glucose can form in the lens, causing it to swell. There's also an enzyme in the lens that converts glucose to sorbitol, which can affect cells and proteins to cause the lens to become less clear.

Drugs

Medications such as steroids and chlorpromazine are associated with cataract development. Also known as thorazine, chlorpromazine is part of a family of phenothiazine medications commonly used to treat psychotic illnesses.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to an increased risk of developing cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, particularly sunlight, are absorbed by the eye's lens and can form free radicals, which may eventually damage the lens. People who work in certain occupations or live in parts of the world where bright sunshine is more prevalent on a day-to-day basis are more at risk for overexposure to UV light.

Smoking

Smoking leads to many dangerous diseases and illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, and harms nearly every organ in your body, including your eyes. Studies have shown that smokers are at double the risk of developing cataracts as non-smokers. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of developing cataracts. Medical professionals believe that smoking causes vision problems through oxidation.

Alcohol

Like smoking, high alcohol consumption can put you at a greater risk of developing cataracts than people who consume less or no alcohol. Heavy alcohol use can lead to damage of the optic nerve.

Nutritional Deficiency

Some studies have shown that not consuming enough antioxidants — such as vitamins E and C — may lead to a greater likelihood of cataract formation. The same studies show that antioxidants can help decrease your chances of developing cataracts.

The eye professionals at Broome Optical in Amarillo treat cataracts and other eye disorders and diseases. Contact them for an appointment to evaluate your eye health status today.

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