Why Does Everyone Develop Cataracts?

Why Does Everyone Develop Cataracts?

April 11th, 2024

Cataracts are natural changes that happen to the eyes, often due to aging. This eye condition can make your vision blurry and cause difficulty reading.

Cataracts don’t cause pain and, in most cases, don’t affect vision right away. Eventually, they may progress to the point that you need cataract surgery.

Keep reading to learn more about cataracts, including why everyone develops them!

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. The lens is a clear, flexible disc made of protein that sits behind your iris.

It helps focus light onto the retina, which then transmits information to the brain to form visual images. The clouding or discoloration of the lens affects how much light can penetrate the lens and make its way through to the retina.

Cataracts can cause:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dimmed or faded colors
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Double vision

What Causes Cataracts?

Most cataracts are age-related. Over time, the proteins that make up the lens can start to break down and clump together. 

When the proteins clump together, they begin to form cloudy patches in the lens. Experts don’t fully understand why the tissue of the lens starts to deteriorate with age.

However, it is like any other part of the body that changes with age. Everyone will eventually develop cataracts if they live long enough.

Cataracts usually start to develop between the ages of forty and fifty. By the age of eighty, more than fifty percent of people have been diagnosed with cataracts or have undergone surgery to remove them.

Some people may have cataracts but don’t know it. The only way to confirm a diagnosis of cataracts is with a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

There is no known method of preventing cataracts. However, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing premature cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts by making lifestyle changes such as:

Tobacco cessation

People who smoke tobacco have an increased risk of cataracts. Quitting smoking can improve the overall health of your eyes.

Reduce UV exposure

Prolonged sun exposure has been linked to cataracts. Protect eyes from sun exposure by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.

Eye Protection

Eye injuries can accelerate cataract progression. Protect your eyes from injuries by wearing appropriate eye protection at work or when playing sports.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

Eating foods that promote eye health, such as leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains, may slow the onset of cataracts. A balanced diet and physical activity can also help manage conditions like diabetes, which may increase cataract risk. 

Eye Exams

Regular eye exams allow your eye doctor to check your overall eye health. They can identify cataracts that are developing and track their progress. 

They can also determine if cataracts are the cause of vision changes or if you have other eye conditions, such as glaucoma, that require immediate treatment. There is no treatment for cataracts once they develop. 

The only cure for vision changes from cataracts is cataract surgery. This is a safe and effective procedure to remove the clouded lens of the eye and replace it with a clear, artificial lens. 

Your eye doctor can help you decide when it’s time for cataract surgery. 

Do you think you may be experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, AL, today!