Are You at Risk for Cataracts?

At Maple Eye and Laser Center, we offer state-of-the-art cataract surgery and lens replacement to patients whose vision has become impaired by clouded natural lenses. In many cases, patients with cataracts emerge from treatment with sharper, clearer unaided vision than they have had in years, making their cataracts blessings in disguise. However, there should be no doubt that cataracts can be extremely dangerous; in fact, they are the leading cause of blindness in the world. While the quality of medical care in the United States has helped to dramatically reduce the number of cataract-related cases of blindness within our borders, it is still important that people understand the effects that cataracts can have on their ocular health and the factors that can put them at heightened risk of developing cataracts.

At our eye care center in White Plains, cataracts risk factors can be discussed during consultations and comprehensive eye exams. If you have not had an eye exam within the last two years, especially if you are at risk of cataracts or another eye disease, we urge you to visit our practice at your earliest convenience. When it comes to the health of your eyes, an ounce of prevention today truly is worth a pound of cure - and then some.

What are the risk factors for cataracts?

The primary risk factor for cataracts is age. Once a person hits the age of 60, his or her risk of developing cataracts increases dramatically with each passing year. Approximately half of all adults aged 75 and older are affected by cataracts to some degree.

Age-related cataracts cannot be avoided, unfortunately. Their progress can be slowed, but not stopped; eventually, the affected lenses will have to be surgically removed and replaced with artificial intraocular lenses (IOLs). For millions of elderly people, this is simply a reality of life.

For others, however, the development of cataracts can be attributed at least partially to factors other than aging. If you fall into any of the following groups, you should be aware that you are at a higher risk of developing cataracts and be proactive about having your eyes routinely examined:

Females: Women are more likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age than men.
People of African and Hispanic heritage: People of African and Hispanic heritage are at greater risk of developing cataracts than Caucasians and Asians. Indeed, people of African heritage are actually nearly twice as likely to develop cataracts as Caucasians.
Diabetics: People with high blood glucose levels, such as diabetics, are more likely to develop cataracts.
People with eye conditions and injuries: Those who have other eye diseases or who have suffered trauma to the eye are more likely to develop cataracts before the age of 60.
Smokers and drinkers: Heavy smokers and drinkers face a significantly higher risk of cataracts; in fact, those who smoke a pack a day may be at double the risk of non-smokers.
People for whom cataracts run in the family: Cataracts tend to be hereditary.

Learn More about Cataract Risk Factors

To learn more about cataract risk factors, please contact Maple Eye and Laser Center today.