A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. As a lens becomes cloudy, vision is impaired. Although most cataracts develop from the natural aging process, cataracts can affect younger people, including those under the age of 40. Even children and young people can develop cataracts.
Several factors can cause or contribute to cataracts in people under 40:
Disease: Diabetes is a known risk factor for early cataracts. There are many other metabolic conditions that can cause cataracts.
Medications: Steroids among other drugs can cause early cataracts.
Environment: Excessive UV exposure can lead to cataracts.
Trauma: Trauma to the eye can cause cataracts. Trauma may break the lens capsule making the lens suffer from a protein leak and causing clouding.
Lifestyle: Smokers and those who heavily use alcohol are at an increased risk of developing cataracts.
Cataracts may also be caused by defects in the eye, detachment of the retina or high dosages of radiation.
If you are young, it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun and injuries and maintain regular vision exams. Cataracts are typically easy to treat with cataract surgery. For more information about cataracts under 40, contact Harvard Eye Associates at 949-951-2020 or harvardeye.com.