Common Causes of Cataracts
Just as the rest of the body, as the eyes age, it becomes increasingly likely that complications will occur or that overall eye health will be compromised. It is important to see an eye doctor on a regular basis so that when these problems do develop, they can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Cataracts, a condition that causes blurry, clouded vision, is one eye disease that will be experienced by most patients as they begin to age. While aging is known as the leading cause of cataracts, there are other factors that can lead to the formation of cataracts. Dr. Walter Choate teaches his Nashville patients cataract causes and factors that may increase the risk of developing cataracts so that they are aware of their own risk of cataracts and can be prepared to look for signs of this condition.
What Causes Cataracts?
In most cases, cataracts are a result of the natural aging of the eye. As the eye ages, it is common for the eye’s natural lens to become clouded over, making vision become blurred. In fact, by the time a patient reaches the age of 65, most will have developed some degree of cataracts. However, while aging is considered the leading cause of cataracts, there are other known causes of this condition. Some other possible causes of cataracts include the following:
- A traumatic eye injury
- Genetic disorders
- Certain medical conditions
- A past eye surgery
- Long-term use of steroid medication
Any of these causes can lead to the development of a cataract in either one or both eyes.
Any patient who has reached the later stages of life or who has experienced one of the above situations may develop cataracts, however, there are risk factors that may increase a patient’s likelihood of developing cataracts. Some of these risk factors include the following:
- Excessive or prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Exposure to radiation, either from x-rays or through cancer radiation therapy
- High blood pressure
Although the above are not considered as causes of cataracts, they do put a patient at a higher risk of developing cataracts.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
Unfortunately, even by avoiding the risk factors of cataracts, this is not a condition that can be prevented. However, cataracts can be managed and treated, especially with early detection. In the early stages of cataracts, Dr. Choate is likely to manage the condition by increasing the strength of a patient’s eyewear prescription. However, as the condition progresses, the only adequate treatment will be cataract surgery. Cataract surgery will involve the replacement of the patient’s natural clouded lens with an intraocular lens, which will restore a patient’s vision.
No matter a patient’s age or overall health, it is important to see an eye doctor on a regular basis so that the health of the eyes can be monitored. However, patients who are at high risk for cataracts should be especially vigilant about maintaining routine eye exams. If you are in need of a regular eye exam or are concerned about the health of your eyes, contact us at Choate Eye Associates to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.