What Causes Cataracts? - Frantz EyeCare

What Causes Cataracts?

Has your vision become cloudy with age? Cataracts are a common eye problem that impacts millions of Americans, particularly those over the age of sixty-five.

Cataracts worsen with time, making it increasingly difficult to perform your everyday tasks. But what exactly causes cataracts, and what can you do if you have them?

Keep reading to learn more about cataracts, including what causes them and how they are treated!

What Exactly Is A Cataract?

Your eyes have a clear, flexible lens located behind the iris. It is made of proteins called crystallins. 

When you age, these proteins begin to deteriorate and clump together, making your natural lens less flexible and cloudy, which is called a cataract. Cataracts are most commonly caused by the natural aging process within the eye but can also be caused by other factors. 

Cataracts are technically a natural and inevitable part of the aging process, but the symptoms can still be debilitating as cataracts get worse. Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Cloudy, foggy, or hazy vision
  • Colors may appear less vivid
  • Glares or streaks around lights
  • Double vision
  • Trouble reading 
  • Difficulty driving at night

As your cataracts continue to develop, the symptoms will become more severe. While glasses and contacts can help combat blurry vision at first, eventually, they will not be enough to clear your vision completely.

This may affect your ability to drive, read, and more. 

What Are The Causes Of Cataracts?

There are many reasons why cataracts develop, but aging is the most common cause. The gradual process usually begins around the age of forty and progresses over time. 

Other factors that can contribute to the development of cataracts include diabetes, smoking, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, certain medications, and eye injuries. In some cases, cataracts can be present at birth or develop in early childhood due to genetic factors or maternal infections during pregnancy. 

While cataracts are a natural part of the aging process for many people, regular eye exams can help detect them early and allow for timely treatment to preserve vision. 

Why Do Cataracts Develop?

Several factors beyond aging can increase your risk of developing cataracts. Some of these factors can cause you to develop cataracts earlier in life.

Environmental factors play a significant role in cataract formation. Exposure to air pollution, tobacco smoke, excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged UV light exposure, and certain pesticides can all contribute to the early development of cataracts.

Genetics can also influence your likelihood of developing cataracts. Those with a family history of the condition are at a higher risk of experiencing cataracts themselves.

Various medical factors can also increase the risk of cataracts. Certain health problems like diabetes and glaucoma can make you more likely to develop cataracts. 

Taking medicines called corticosteroids for a long time can also raise your chances of developing cataracts. If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor at Frantz EyeCare in Fort Myers, Florida. 

Regular, comprehensive eye exams can help detect cataracts in their early stages.

Can You Treat Cataracts?

The only way to remove cataracts and restore your vision permanently is through cataract surgery. During this procedure, your cataract surgeon will use specialized tools to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens.

The new lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL), remains permanently in your eye and is designed to provide clear vision without the possibility of developing a cataract in the future. 

Are you experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Frantz EyeCare in Fort Myers, FL, today!


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Naples FL 34110
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Naples FL 34104
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