It’s a common misconception that cataracts only affect the elderly. While it’s true that most cataracts occur because of aging, it’s not the only reason that cataracts can develop.
Many people start developing cataracts as young as age 40. However, cataracts can occur at any age. Some people are even born with them. Keep reading to learn how cataracts impact people of different ages!
What Causes Cataracts?
The medical and scientific community still aren’t sure what exactly causes cataracts. What they do know is that cataracts frequently come with advanced age.
They tend to develop the older a person gets. They also know that certain factors may make it more likely to have cataracts at a younger age.
Some cataracts are also associated with factors other than age; this includes factors like having diabetes or a traumatic eye injury. In theory, anyone can get a cataract no matter how old or young they are.
Cataract Risk Factors
Though doctors can’t pin down the exact cause of cataracts, there are a variety of factors that put people at higher risk. These factors include:
● Being 40 or older
● Excessive alcohol consumption
● Poor nutrition
● Having diabetes
● Taking corticosteroids
Some of these factors you can’t control, but many you can. If you want to avoid having cataracts at a young age, you should focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Eat well, don’t smoke, and drink in moderation. But, if you do get cataracts at a young age, it is important to know that they are treatable and clear vision can be restored.
There are several other factors that may contribute to the premature development of a cataract. You may have been exposed to radiation.
You also could have congenital cataracts, which means that you were born with them. You can’t help having congenital cataracts, and you may have been exposed to radiation because of a CT scan or cancer treatment.
You can lower your risk by leading a healthy lifestyle, but no matter what causes your cataracts, you can never be too young to have them.
Luckily, cataracts are treatable. The only way to treat them is through an outpatient procedure called cataract surgery.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed where the cataract has formed. In the past, this left patients with severely reduced vision, and they needed to wear thick glasses for them to be able to see.
Modern cataract surgery replaces the lens with an artificial lens. This is an IOL, or intraocular lens. IOLs come in different varieties depending on your lifestyle needs. Premium options may allow you to see even better than you did before you had cataracts!
If you think you have cataracts, no matter what your age, see your ophthalmologist. They can diagnose you and recommend treatment if your cataracts are severe enough. You may not need treatment right away if your cataracts are developing slowly. If cataracts interfere with your quality of life, cataract surgery is the best option.
Concerned that you may need cataract surgery? Nielsen Eye Center is here to help! Schedule an appointment at The Nielsen Eye Center in the greater Boston area.
Call The Nielsen Eye Center at 617-471-5665 and ask to speak to one of our Patient Advocates. If you have cataracts, scheduling a cataract screening is the first step on your journey to clear vision! Let’s get you seeing 20/20 in 2020.