Most of the time, cataracts develop due to age-related changes in the eye that occur after the age of 60. However, cataracts can affect individuals as young as their 20s and 30s. In this post, Dr Joshua Hann discusses the causes of early onset cataracts.
Brief Overview of Cataracts
Before exploring the causes of early onset cataracts, it helps to have a basic understanding of what a cataract is.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens that causes blurry or distorted vision, halos around lights, glare and/or colors that appear dull or faded. Naturally occurring proteins that make up the lens start to clump together, creating opaque or cloudy areas. The lens also takes on a darker color. The combination of these factors reduces the amount of light that enters the eye and is focused on the retina.
Usually this process is a result of advancing age. But other factors not related to the aging process can contribute to the development of cataracts.
Factors That Can Cause Early Cataracts
Use of corticosteroid drugs
High doses or the long-term use of corticosteroids have been implicated in the formation of early onset cataracts. If you are prescribed corticosteroids for a medical condition, make sure that you have regular eye exams to watch for any early signs of cataracts.
Blunt force to the eye can damage the lens, leading to the development of cloudy or opaque areas. If you experience an injury or blow to the eye, you should get checked out by an eye doctor to determine the severity of the damage.
Individuals with diabetes are at higher risk of developing cataracts at a young age than individuals who do not have diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the lens, causing opaque areas to form. If you have diabetes, Dr Hann encourages you to control your blood sugar with the help of your medical team and undergo dilated eye exams regularly.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays
Some evidence suggests that exposure to too much sun may cause early onset cataracts. Whenever going outside, be diligent about wearing sunglasses that offer protection from the sun’s UV rays. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat offers added protection.
Contact Dr Joshua Hann
Dr Hann has years of experience treating cataracts and helping his patients reclaim the clear vision they need for everyday life.
If you experience cataract symptoms at any age, you should be examined by Dr Hann. Should you be diagnosed with cataracts, the doctor can explain your treatment options in detail.
To request an appointment with Dr Hann, please contact Eastside Eye Specialist Care today.