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What Are the Causes of Cataract?

Gain insight into the cloudy world of cataracts by exploring its causes in this informative article.

  • 11 Oct 2023
  • 3 min read

Have you been feeling like the world is getting a little bit too blurry lately? It could be cataracts. Cataracts, which are clouding of the lens of your eye, can cause blurred vision and affect your ability to see clearly. They are usually an age-related condition, but cataracts can also occur in younger adults or children as well. In this post, we will discuss the causes of cataract so that you can make sure to stay on top of any potential vision problems before they get worse.


How is Cataract caused?         

Discovering the root causes of cataract starts with understanding how they develop. As we age, the proteins in our eye lenses undergo degenerative processes that lead to denaturation and coagulation. This protein degeneration is what causes the loss of lens transparency and ultimately forms cataracts. While aging plays a major role in this disease, there are also other factors apart from age that can contribute to cataract development.

The following causes and risk factors are responsible for the occurrence of cataract:

  • Aging: Increasing age tend to cause clouding of lenses and cause age-related or senile cataract. It is the most common cause and cataract type that occurs worldwide.
  • Injury: Inflammation or injury of any type that affect lenses might cause cataract. Injury is one of the most common cataract reasons in one eye among young individuals. Eye condition like glaucoma is also responsible for cataract.
  • Diseases: Certain diseases makes a person prone to cataract, which include:
    • Diseases that affect hormonal balance in the body like Hyperparathyroidism, Diabetes Mellitus, and Cretinism.
    • Diseases that affect whole body/systemic diseases like Atopic dermatitis, Neurofibromatosis type 2, and Myotonic dystrophy.
    • Diseases that affect eyes (ocular diseases) like Anterior Uveitis, retinitis pigmentosa, Stickler syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, etc.
    • Previous surgery in the eyes due to some reason may also cause cataract.
  • Congenital reason: It refers to the presence of cataract from birth, which occurs mostly due to poor nutrition of the mother, infection of the mother with rubella and rubeola virus during pregnancy.
  • Use of certain drugs: Drugs like corticosteroids and anticholinesterase inhibitors are known to cause cataract if consumed on a regular basis.
  • Lack of nutritious food: Foods play a major role in the maintenance of overall health and also in the health of the eyes. Lack of a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is one of the reasons behind cataract.
  • Lifestyle factors: Factors like daily smoking, less physical activity, obesity, and regular alcohol use may cause cataract.
  • UV radiation treatment: Exposure to ultraviolet radiation due to various reasons, like for cancer treatment, may cause cataract. Similarly, exposure to ionizing radiation during certain cancers of the eyes or any other disease treatment might cause cataract.
  • Chemical exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals like thallium, naphthalene, galactose and lactose is known to cause cataract.
  • Blunt trauma in the eyes: Injury in the eyes that may be due to any blunt object like a rod, stick, chemical fall, wood, brick, cement, or injuries at the workplace might lead to cataract.

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The severity of cataract varies and it can affect one or both eyes. It usually starts at a younger age but does not cause any difficulty until it becomes mature. It is mostly diagnosed around 40-50 years of age with decreased visual activity and difficulty in doing regular work.  Cataract is manageable with timely medical intervention, which includes rectifying spectacles until the cataract is immature; but, once it has matured, then only surgery is an option.  Understanding the causes of cataract can help a person prevent this disease. So, it is important to take the necessary measures if you are at risk. Also, ensure that you have a health insurance plan in place to safeguard yourself against any financial stress.

Disclaimer: The above blog aims to provide general information about health and related topics. Any information provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you contact your Doctor before starting a new medicine or health regime.

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