Am I Too Young For Cataracts?

Middle Aged Couple Biking

Cataracts are often associated with old age. People older than 40 have an increased risk of developing cataracts.

This doesn’t mean that cataracts cannot develop sooner due to external factors. Cataracts can develop at any age!

Even infants can be born with cataracts. Since cataracts are so prevalent, cataract surgery is well understood and commonly performed.

The surgery is, in fact, one of the safest medical procedures in the world. Keep reading to learn why cataracts can develop at an earlier age!

What Is a Cataract?

The lenses in your eyes have a certain degree of natural flexibility to them. As you grow older, the lens becomes harder and more rigid.

The lens also becomes more opaque as tissues break down and proteins begin to clump together.

These clumps of tissue are cataracts. As cataracts grow, more and more light is blocked.

Vision loss from cataracts won’t develop until a cataract has fully ripened. At this point, your eyesight will deteriorate and become blurry.

You may also experience light sensitivity, glare, halos, tinted vision, and double vision.

What Causes Cataracts To Develop Early?

Besides age, there are many risk factors that could cause early cataract development. These can include:

  • too much UV radiation from sunlight exposure
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • certain medications
  • eye injury
  • high blood pressure
  • surgical complications

Babies are also sometimes born with cataracts. This results in congenital cataracts.

They can be the result of genetic traits or due to trauma or infection during pregnancy. Cataracts in children can be removed with cataract surgery if removal is necessary.

You can decrease your risk of early cataract development by practicing some of these healthy habits:

  • if you smoke, quit.
  • reduce your alcohol consumption
  • keeping your blood sugar and pressure in check
  • eating a healthy diet full of antioxidants like leafy greens
  • protect your eyes from the sun with wide brimmed hats or UV resistant sunglasses

Different Kinds Of Cataracts

Cataracts are usually categorized by their position in the lens. They can grow in the center of the lens, the edges of the lens, or at the back end of the lens. Each type of cataract grows in a different way.

Cataracts at the center of the lens are nuclear cataracts. These cataracts progress slowly and may cause a temporary increase in nearsightedness. With nuclear cataracts, tinted vision may seem more brown than yellow.

Cataracts that grow on the edges of the lens are cortical cataracts. Cortical cataracts also develop slowly over time and look like streaks on the lens of your eye.

Cataracts that grow at the back of your lens are posterior subcapsular cataracts. These cataracts can cause glare and halos. These cataracts develop faster than their two cataract counterparts.

No matter what kind of cataracts you may have, cataract surgery can remove them! There is no cure for cataracts, but they are removable.

Once the cataract and lens have been removed, it’s replaced with an IOL. An IOL, or artificial lens, takes over the job of the lens.

IOLs provide patients with clear vision, giving them their sight back.

Treatment for cataracts is swift and reliable. Come into Arizona Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Glendale, Arizona for an appointment today!

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