Cataracts develop when your eye’s lens gradually becomes thicker, less flexible and less transparent. The inside of your eye then becomes cloudy due to the clumping of protein in the lens. Early cataract can be treated with simple means like wearing newer eyeglasses and anti-glare sunglasses, brighter lighting, or by using a magnifying glass. However, if these methods don’t improve your sight, surgery may be the answer. This involves replacing your eye’s cloudy lens with an artificial one. Read on to determine if you may be at greater risk for developing the disease:
- Aging. Cataracts is part of aging. According to the National Eye Insititute, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
- Diabetes. When your blood sugar levels are too high, it can cause changes in the eye that can lead to cataracts.
- Too many UV rays. When you’re exposed to UV rays for a long period of time, either from sunlight or tanning booths, you have a higher chance of developing cataracts. That’s because the cornea and other parts of your eye absorb this radiation and cause damage similar to a sunburn on skin.
- Eye diseases. Your risk of developing cataracts increases if you have an eye disease such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, retinal detachment or long-tern uveitis.
- Injury to the eyes. This is rare, but children who experience an eye injury are most at risk for the onset of cataracts.
- High blood pressure. A handful of blood pressure medications can greatly increase your risk of developing cataracts. These include Beta blockers and ACE inhibitors.
- Obesity. People who are obese are at greater risk for gout, which has been found to contribute to the onset of cataracts. And if you’re overweight, you may also have an increased amount of systemic inflammation, which may lead to cataracts.
- Genetics. If there is a family history of cataracts, you may inherit the tendency to get the disease.
To learn more about risk factors for developing cataracts, or for information about any of the services we provide, please call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.