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Age is the most common reason cataracts develop, just like wrinkles, joint degeneration, and reduced hearing. The eye lens is impacted by cell aging, just like the rest of your body. The cause of cataracts is not entirely known. What is understood is that as the years pass, the chemical composition of the lens alters, with the proteins (crystallins) beginning to clump together, causing the lens to become opaque and thicker.

Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress

Free radicals are molecules that are missing one electron. They are produced by the body when exposed to toxins in the environment present in the air, water, and food. The missing electron causes these molecules to be unstable, and this instability causes damages to nearby cells. Antioxidants are known to neutralize free radicals, and research is underway to attempt to discover if certain vitamins could be helpful in preventing or slowing the development of cataracts.

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Cataract Risk Factors

About half of Americans develop cataracts, and will require cataract surgery, but certain factors put you at higher risk, including:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Diabetes
  • Inhaled or oral steroid medications
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Eye injuries or inflammation
  • Radiation to the eye
  • Eye surgery

Cataract symptoms

As cataracts develop, you will notice certain symptoms:

  • You find it difficult to read road signs when night driving.
  • You struggle to read fine print.
  • Your vision appears yellowed, brownish, or cloudy.
  • Blurry or dim vision.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Haloes appear around light sources.
  • Faded, dull colors.
  • One eye has double vision.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have scheduled an appointment with your eye doctor to update your eyeglass or contact lens prescription. It is critical that you have a regular thorough, comprehensive eye exam from an ophthalmologist to identify any eye conditions such as cataracts, infections, inflammation, injuries, or glaucoma, as early detection and treatment can prevent vision loss. If you are experiencing eye pain, schedule an appointment with our eye specialists at Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology immediately.

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