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Who is at risk for cataract

The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil (see diagram). It works much like a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, where an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.

Types of Cataracts

There are different types of cataracts. They’re classified based on where and how they develop in your eye:

  • Nuclear cataracts form in the middle of the lens and cause the nucleus, or the center, to become yellow or brown.
  • Cortical cataracts are wedge-shaped and form around the edges of the nucleus.
  • Posterior capsular cataracts form faster than the other two types and affect the back of the lens.
  • Congenital cataracts, which are present at birth or form during a baby’s first year, are less common than age-related cataracts.
  • Secondary cataracts are caused by disease or medications. Diseases that are linked with the development of cataracts include glaucoma and diabetes. The use of the steroid prednisone and other medications can sometimes lead to cataracts.
  • Traumatic cataracts develop after an injury to the eye, but it can take several years for this to happen.
  • Radiation cataracts can form after a person undergoes radiation treatment for cancer.

What Causes Cataracts?

There are several underlying causes of cataracts. These include:

  • an overproduction of oxidants, which are oxygen molecules that have been chemically altered due to normal daily life
  • smoking
  • ultraviolet radiation
  • the long-term use of steroids and other medications
  • certain diseases, such as diabetes
  • trauma
  • radiation therapy
  • high blood pressure
  • a family history of cataracts
  • obesity

What can I do to protect my vision?

Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataract. If you smoke, stop. Researchers also believe good nutrition can help reduce the risk of age-related cataract. They recommend eating green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants. If you are age 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. In addition to cataract, your eye care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders.

Reference:

http://www.youreyes.org/eyehealth/cataracts/cataracts-causes-risks

https://www.healthline.com/health/cataract#risk-factors

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