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Unveiling the Culprits: What Causes Cataracts?

Gina Walters


what causes Cataracts

Cataracts are a common age-related eye condition affecting one’s quality of life. 

The eye condition affects millions worldwide and may lead to vision problems.

However, many wonder, “What causes Cataracts?”

Let us explore the various causes of Cataracts to help with early detection and prevention.

Causes of Cataracts

Cataracts are a slow-developing eye condition in which one’s eye lens becomes cloudy.

The common Cataract symptoms include light sensitivity, blurred vision, trouble recognizing colors, and difficulty with night vision.

However, understanding the causes of the condition can help diagnose and treat the condition.

The causes of Cataracts include aging, smoking, UV rays, medical conditions, and more.

Let us discuss the causes in detail.


Aging is the most common cause of Cataracts. 

Research suggests that the protein in the eye lens starts breaking down and clumping together around age 40.

The process is slow but can contribute to the clouding of the eye lenses.

One should get regular eye exams to detect and manage Cataracts early.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays

Long exposure to UV rays from sunlight is another risk factor for Cataracts. 

Ultraviolet-A (UV-A) and UV-B rays can cause Cataract formation and are harmful to one’s vision.

One should wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat outdoors to help reduce the risk of Cataracts.

Smoking and drinking

smokingSource: pcess609
Picture of burning cigarette

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are major risk factors for Cataracts. 

Smoking can cause Cataracts by exposing the eyes to harmful chemicals and increasing the protein breakdown process.

Similarly, heavy alcohol consumption can dehydrate the body and contribute to Cataract development. 

A study states that excessive smoking is associated with a higher risk of Nuclear Cataracts and Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts.

Eye injuries can also cause damage to the lens and lead to Cataracts. One should wear protective eyewear during risky activities.

Medical conditions

Medical conditions like Diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing Cataracts. 

Also, eye diseases like Glaucoma, Retina Pigmentosa, and Uveitis can lead to Cataract formation.

Consult an eye expert for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.

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Genetics can play an important role in Cataract development.

An individual has a higher chance of getting Cataracts if the condition runs in the family. 

Therefore, ask your family about their medical history and share it with your doctor during diagnosis.

Cataract treatment options

eyeglassesSource: A's_Images
Eyeglasses for person suffering cataracts

The treatment of Cataracts depends on the severity of the condition.

The treatment options for Cataracts include prescription eyeglasses and Cataract surgery

The doctors may recommend changing the prescription for glasses for mild cases of vision loss. 

However, doctors may suggest Cataract surgery to help treat the severe cases of eye condition. 

The different types of Cataract surgery include Extracapsular Cataract Extraction, Phacoemulsification, and Intracapsular Cataract Extraction.

However, one may experience some Cataract surgery side effects like bleeding, eye infection, and inflammation.

The doctors may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory eye drops to help treat the side effects.

Consult an expert before choosing any treatment option.

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Key takeaways

Cataracts are a common eye condition in which one’s eye lens becomes cloudy.

However, people are curious about, “What causes Cataracts?”

The common causes of Cataracts include aging, smoking, UV rays, medical conditions, genetics, and more.

The doctor may suggest an eye exam and give a proper treatment plan after the diagnosis.

The treatment options for Cataracts include prescription eyeglasses and Cataract surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes Cataracts in humans?

Cataracts in humans mainly result from aging. The proteins in the eye lens clump together over time and may lead to cloudy lenses. Other Cataract causes include UV ray exposure, smoking, Diabetes, Hypertension, genetics, and more.

What are the different types of Cataracts?

The various types of Cataracts include Congenital Cataracts, Cortical Cataracts, Senile Cataracts, and more. The types of Cataracts are separated based on two factors- the location of the Cataract and the causes of the eye condition. 

What foods cause Cataracts?

There is no direct scientific evidence that specific foods cause Cataracts. However, a study states that certain nutrients like vitamin C, zeaxanthin, Vitamin E, and more can help prevent Cataracts.

What is the biggest cause of Cataracts?

Aging is the biggest cause of Cataracts. Aging can cause changes in the eye’s proteins and lead to the clouding of the lens. People above 40 years of age should get regular eye exams to detect Cataracts early.

Can lifestyle changes help treat Cataracts?

Yes, healthy lifestyle options can help with Cataract treatment and prevent other eye diseases. The lifestyle changes include quitting smoking and drinking, protecting eyes from UV rays, getting regular eye checkups, and more. 

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