What causes age-related cataracts?

The reasons why age-related cataracts develop aren't fully understood. Like grey hair, cataracts are an inevitable part of ageing that affect different people at different ages.

Cataracts are the result of changesin the structure of the lens over time. It's thought that the cloudy areas in the lens may be caused by changes inthe proteins that make up the lens. However,it's not clear how or why getting older cause these changes to occur.

As well as your age, there are a number of other factors that may increase your risk of developing cataracts. These include:

  • having a family history of cataracts
  • having diabetes
  • having other eye conditions, such as long-term uveitis
  • eye surgery or an eye injury
  • takinga high dose of corticosteroid medication , or taking corticosteroids for a prolonged period oftime

Other factors that may possibly be linked to the development of cataracts include:

  • smoking
  • regularly drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • a poor diet lacking in vitamins
  • lifelong exposure tosunlight

As the exact cause ofage-related cataracts isn't clear, there's no known way to prevent them.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018