WHO'S MOST AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING CATARACTS?

Dr. Jim Martin 05/26/2016

digital_eye.pngCataracts are a common eye disorder most commonly associated with the natural aging process. A cataract forms when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy and no longer reflects sharp images to your retina. In the early development of cataracts, the decreased vision may be improved through a different prescription for your eyeglasses or contacts, but eventually cataract surgery will be needed.

While cataracts often develop because of aging as the lens of your eye become less flexible, transparent and thicker, or due to an eye injury, there are other factors which can increase your risk of getting cataracts.

What Are Risk Factors For Cataracts Besides Aging?

There are several risk factors for developing cataracts, including:

Diabetes

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults ages 20 to 74. People with diabetes are also at an increased risk of getting cataracts and tend to get them earlier in life.

Alcohol Abuse

Studies have shown that heavy alcohol consumption seriously increased a person's chance of developing cataracts.

Smoking

Smoking has a negative effect on nearly every organ in the human body, including the eyes. Research suggests that people who smoke are twice as likely to develop cataracts as those who don't.

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension can put a strain on the blood vessels in your eyes. It can even cause swelling in the optic nerve, and if left untreated, high blood pressure can cause permanent vision loss. According to the American Heart Association, one out of every three adults has high blood pressure.

Excessive Exposure To Sunlight

Your eyes can be damaged if exposed to too much ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. That's why it's important to wear sunglasses designed to protect against the sun's most harmful rays.

Obesity

Studies have linked obesity to elevated intraocular pressure. While an exact link between obesity and cataracts hasn't been fully developed, researchers suggest obesity may trigger cataract development because of high blood glucose levels and a lower level of antioxidants in the blood.

Prolonged Use Of Corticosteroids

Long-term use of corticosteroids is the most common drug-related cause of cataracts; short-term use of oral steroids is unlikely to lead to cataracts.

Eye Injuries

Blunt trauma to the eye or damage caused by certain chemicals that get in the eye can lead to cataracts. In both cases, cataracts may develop immediately or afterward.

Other Factors

Other factors that can trigger cataracts include exposure to radiation such as that used in X-rays and cancer radiation, or a family history of cataracts.

The eye professionals at Broome Optical diagnose and treat cataracts and other eye diseases and disorder.  Call them to set up appointment to evaluate your eye health status.

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