As one age, cataracts naturally form. By 65 years of age, there is a likelihood that 90% of individuals have cataracts even though the majority may not realize the signs within a few months or years after the formation. Your physician will determine the cataract’s stage by examining the yellowing lens and clouding within the grading region. However, there are risk factors that may predispose one to develop cataracts earlier than expected in life. The classification for the risk factors is:
- Nutritional Deficiency.
It consists of diabetes, UV radiation, toxic chemicals, diuretics, and corticosteroids. Traumatic events result after injuries to the eyes.
Factors that may lead to the formation of cataracts include:
Protein and water are the main components in the eye. As one grows, some of the proteins coalesce and clouds eye lenses. As it continues to develop, it may lead to a partial or total loss of vision. Cataracts are correctable through cataract surgery Brisbane, involving replacing the naturally occurring lenses with intraocular lenses. Some cataracts may develop as one grows, including posterior sub-capsular cataracts, cortical cataracts, and nuclear sclerosis cataracts. Irrespective of the type of the cataract, symptoms are similar, including:
- Difficulty to see during the night.
- Sensitivity in glaring.
- Clouding vision.
- Trouble having eyeglasses.
- Color blindness.
Hypertension causes inflammation of the blood vessels located in the eye. This may one predispose to develop cataracts. Additionally, hypertension distorts the eye lens proteins leading to blurred vision. Hypertension also causes glaucoma and macular degeneration.
There is an interrelation between cataracts and obesity. A study in a 10-year old indicates a stronger connection between sub-capsular cataracts and individuals with a high BMI.
Exposure to sunlight for a more extended period is a risk factor for the development of cataracts. The cataract is because of the interrelation between oxidative stress and the UV rays leading to transient and impaired vision. Both UV-A and UV-B are not essential for vision.
In children, UV radiation damages the retina. Removal of these wavelengths from ocular exposure may assist in reducing and preventing cataract formation. The prevention is through wearing sunglasses and brimmed hats. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation leads to the release of chemicals that damage lenses.
Aqueous humor contains oxygen and glucose that nourishes eye lenses. Unchecked diabetes means elevated glucose levels in the aqueous humor. High glucose levels cause swelling of the lens and interfere with the vision’s clarity. Lenses contain enzymes for converting glucose into sorbitol that may cause cataracts by affecting the proteins and cells after accumulating over a long time.
Smokers are at risk of developing cataracts at a younger age compared to non-smokers. Tobacco causes cataracts and AMD. Smoking doubles the risk of getting cataracts through the chemicals like nicotine present in tobacco. There are several mechanisms in which tobacco may cause cataracts, including oxidative stress caused by carbon monoxide and nicotine.
A synergistic relationship is present between diabetes and smoking in causing nuclear cataracts. Smoking has little to no association with sub-capsular cataracts. Cigarettes contain cadmium and heavy metals that destroy the lenses.
E-cigarettes and vaping may cause cataracts. Vaping causes drier eyes, which may cause infections and inflammation in the eyes. The resulting oxidative stress and inflammation are the foundation for developing cataracts.
For smokers, the best way to prevent cataracts is by quitting smoking. Abstinence from tobacco may give room for the eye to repair damaged cells and tissues. Those who quit smoking for over 20 years have a 20% reduced chance of having cataracts.
Past Eye Surgery.
Previous eye surgical procedures may predispose one to develop cataracts. High blood glucose levels and too much use of steroids following a surgical procedure are risk factors for developing secondary cataracts.
There exists a stronger interrelation between myopia and cataract. Individuals who are 55 years and more experiencing myopia have higher chances of having cataracts.
Surgical correction is the only recognized cataract treatment procedure via micro-incision on the lens. Ultrasound reduces the opaque lens into fragments. Because of the application of local anesthetics during the process, there will be no pain felt. The duration of having glasses after the surgical procedures is dependent on the lens type and its focal point.