Worldwide, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness. Although everyone is at risk of developing cataracts as they age, there are certain factors that can greatly increase someone’s chances of developing cataracts. Here are the seven leading causes of cataracts.
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Although a family history of having cataracts isn’t a guarantee that you’ll develop them at some point, it is a major factor. If your family has a history of developing cataracts, your eye doctor will want to ensure you’re checked regularly as treating cataracts early on can lead to a better quality of life and help you take steps to prevent cataracts in the future. Note, too, that people who don’t have a family history of cataracts are still at risk.
As all diabetics know, diabetes can cause a host of potential health problems, and eye problems are a major one. In fact, diabetes can cause several issues in the eyes. Blindness caused by diabetes often results from diabetic retinopathy, which typically takes years to develop and can be mitigated if caught early. Cataracts, on the other hand, can be caused by high blood sugar levels with the aqueous fluid in the eye, which can cause discoloration. This high blood sugar content can cause the lens to swell, leading to poorer vision. Regular monitoring can help you catch cataracts caused by diabetes early on.
3. High Blood Pressure
There are three main types of cataracts, and studies have shown that having high blood pressure can increase the chances of developing all three. The risk of developing cataracts scales with the severity of a person’s hypertension; those with mild hypertension are at a lower risk of developing cataracts than those with severe hypertension. If you’re suffering from hypertension, there are many reasons why getting it under control is important for your overall health. Make sure to consider the risk of cataracts as well if you need some extra motivation.
Ongoing smoking is correlated with a host of potential health problems, and cataracts are yet another potential risk. While everyone is at some risk of developing cataracts as they age, studies have shown that smoking doubles the risk. Furthermore, those who smoke more frequently are at a higher risk than infrequent smokers. Fortunately, this is a risk factor that can be controlled. By quitting smoking, you reduce your risk of many potential health conditions, including cataracts.
5. Eye Injuries or Surgery
If you’ve successfully recovered from an eye injury in the past, note that you may want to be more vigilant about cataract development. Even if your eye seems to have healed completely, past injuries can increase your chances of developing cataracts at a later date. Similarly, having eye surgery can make you more prone to cataract development. That said, don’t let the risk of later developing cataracts prevent you from getting necessary eye surgery; cataracts can be treated, while other conditions that require surgery often cannot.
6. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Research has shown a significant link between heavy alcohol use and cataract development, with those who drink excessively being more likely to have cataracts later in life. Fortunately, the news isn’t all bad; those who consume a moderate amount of alcohol may be at a slightly lower risk of cataracts, although the effect, if it exists, is fairly small. Note that smokers who drink excessively are at an especially high risk, so cutting both habits can make your risk far smaller.
7. Sunlight Exposure
Enjoying the sunshine offers a number of health benefits. However, there are some risks as well, and cataracts are one of them. While most cataracts occur in older people, young people whose jobs require them to be out in the sun can also develop cataracts, so be vigilant if you work outdoors. Research has shown that wearing a hat to protect the eyes doesn’t seem to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Regularly wearing sunglasses, on the other hand, can reduce cataract risk significantly.
Fortunately, cataracts can be treated successfully, letting you get back to seeing the world as it is. If you’re worried that cataracts may be affecting your vision, rest assured that cataract surgery in Brisbane is available to restore your vision and let you get back to enjoying life.