What Causes Cataracts?

By shirley
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Cataract.' _Cataract | Kellogg Eye Center | Michigan Medicine_, www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/cataract.
  • 2. 'Cataracts: What They Are, Causes, Symptoms, Surgery, Recovery Time.' _Cleveland Clinic_, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8589-cataracts.
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  • 5. 'Sunglasses: Protection from UV Eye Damage.' _American Academy of Ophthalmology_, 28 Feb. 2018, www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/sunglasses-3.
  • 6. 'Cataracts.' _Johns Hopkins Medicine_, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cataracts.
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  • 8. Do, Diana V, et al. 'Surgery for Post-Vitrectomy Cataract.' _The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews_, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Dec. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4258709/.
  • 9. 'Radiation Protection of Patients with Cataract.' _IAEA_, IAEA, 27 July 2017, www.iaea.org/resources/rpop/health-professionals/radiology/cataract/patients#3.
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Medical Expert Medical Expert

A cataract occurs when proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down and clump together. The lens may stiffen and become thicker and more opaque. This results in the lens losing its ability to send a clear image to the retina, eventually causing vision changes.

Symptoms may include reduced clarity of vision, increased sensitivity to light, the appearance of halos and glare and reduced vibrancy of colors. These visual effects often appear slowly as people grow older, but they may develop due to external factors, such as disease, injury and environmental exposures. Cataracts may also be present at birth.1‘Cataract.’ Cataract | Kellogg Eye Center | Michigan Medicine, www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/cataract.

1. Age-Related Cataracts

The vast majority of cataracts occur as a natural part of aging. They often develop slowly and may not affect vision immediately. More than 90 percent of people have cataracts by the time they turn 65, and about half of those between ages 75 and 80 sustain some vision loss due to cataracts.1‘Cataract.’ Cataract | Kellogg Eye Center | Michigan Medicine, www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/cataract.

Age-related cataracts may develop in one or both eyes. If they affect both eyes, the cataracts may progress at different rates, and the cataract in one eye may cause more visual issues than the cataract in the other eye.2‘Cataracts: What They Are, Causes, Symptoms, Surgery, Recovery Time.’ Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8589-cataracts.


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