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What Causes Cataracts? How Can They Be Prevented?


Cataracts typically form as a natural part of the aging process, though it is possible for young people to develop them as well. A cataract is a calcified buildup that can form along the eye’s natural lens, progressively clouding vision. Cataracts are very common and affect nearly half of the adult population by the age of 80. Although the precise causes of cataracts are not known, doctors have identified a number of factors that can influence the development of cataracts, including:

  • Genetics
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Injury / Eye Trauma
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Medications (i.e. hormone replacement therapy, statins, and corticosteroids)
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Hypertension
  • To help prevent or slow the formation of cataracts, it is important to eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins, most specifically vitamin E, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. It is also vital to protect your eyes from sunlight with sunglasses that block UV light. Furthermore, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can have a positive impact on your vision and whole body health. If you or your doctor detects the early stages of cataracts, it is important to contact an experienced eye surgeon like Dr. Michael Sumsion to prevent serious visual impairment and/or loss of vision with cataract surgery.

    For more information about cataract surgery, please contact our practice to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sumsion.