No, You Can’t Be Too Young For Cataracts
Did you know that you can develop a cataract at any age? Many people associate them with being older, but the truth is that anyone can develop them.
Although anyone of any age can develop a cataract, they become more common around the age of forty or fifty. Cataracts can produce significant vision changes and visual symptoms.
Due to this, it is well worth it to be aware of how cataracts develop. That way, you can help keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
Keep reading to learn more about cataracts and how you can’t be too young for them!
What Is a Cataract?
A cataract occurs when the natural lens of your eye becomes cloudy. Located in the front of your eye, the lens is responsible for focusing light rays onto the retina.
This allows you to see clear images. When it becomes obscured, so does your vision.
Many cataract patients say it is like constantly looking through a foggy window. This can make it challenging to perform regular activities like reading and driving.
The majority of cataracts progress slowly. It can be years before a patient begins to notice a difference in their vision.
Several factors can increase a person’s likelihood of developing a cataract. Although age is a significant factor, it is not the only one.
Other risk factors include:
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- Lack of nutrition in your diet
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of corticosteroids
- High blood pressure
What Are the Symptoms of a Cataract?
Cataracts do not always cause apparent symptoms in their early stages. Your eye doctor may note that cataracts are in the beginning stages of development and tell you to watch for any changes in your vision.
When a cataract does progress to the point of symptoms, common ones include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Glare and halos around lights
- Trouble perceiving contrast
- Double vision in one eye
Once you have been diagnosed with cataracts, your eye doctor will likely tell you that you do not need cataract surgery right away. Your eye doctor will probably wait until the symptoms significantly interfere with your vision before indicating it is time for cataract surgery.
What Are the Most Common Types of Cataracts?
There are a few main types of cataracts: nuclear cataracts, cortical cataracts, subcapsular cataracts, and congenital cataracts. The type an individual has depends on how they form and the reason for their formation.
When you think of cataracts, you probably think of the first type, nuclear cataracts. They generally are a product of aging.
They are called nuclear cataracts because they form in the center of the lens, also referred to as the nucleus. Cataracts are most common for those in their fifties to sixties.
However, they often begin forming earlier, when you are in your forties. Cataracts progress gradually, meaning you may not notice you have one until years later.
Your eye contains proteins that support healthy function. As you age, these proteins begin to break down.
When they do, they form clumps in the lens that prevent light from reaching your retina, which causes blurry vision. This is why cataracts are a frequent cause of blurry vision for those who are fifty or older.
Another type of cataract related to your age is cortical cataracts. Instead of forming in the nucleus, they form around it.
Cortical cataracts appear similar to the spokes of a wheel. Age isn’t the only reason for this type of cataract, though.
It can also result from certain medical conditions like diabetes.
Subcapsular cataracts can also result due to particular health conditions. This type of cataract forms behind the lens.
They have been associated with the use of steroid medications as well.
In addition to these causes, you can be born with a cataract. This is called a congenital cataract.
A congenital cataract can be hereditary, or it can be a result of the lens not forming correctly in the womb.
A person of any age can develop a cataract after trauma. An eye injury that damages the lens can prompt a cataract to form.
Damage to the lens can occur during the trauma or even years later.
How Are Cataracts Treated?
The only way to treat a cataract is to remove it. Cataract surgery is typically recommended once your cataracts begin interfering with your life.
During cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will remove your eye’s natural lens and replace it with an artificial one. This lens is called an intraocular lens or IOL.
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and you can return home the same day. Cataract surgery is straightforward and highly safe.
With your new, cataract-free lens, you’ll be able to see clearly.
Are you experiencing cataract symptoms, or has it been too long since your last exam? Schedule an appointment at Complete EyeCare West in Columbus, OH, today!