Cataracts, Cause and Risk Factors

Shady Grove Opthalmology pic
Shady Grove Opthalmology
Image: shadygroveophthalmology.com

Dr. Anthony Roberts of Shady Grove Ophthalmology in Rockville, Maryland, has extensive experience in LASIK vision correction and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), having performed more than 55,000 refractive procedures over his nearly two-decade career. At his practice, Dr. Anthony Roberts also administers treatments for cataracts.

Cataracts affect approximately 20.5 million people over the age of 40 and more than half the population of those 80 years old and up. The condition causes clouding of the lens, resulting in vision impairment, and develops from a buildup of protein that is compacted into the center of the lens as new lens cells form.

Cataracts can occur at any age. Babies can be born with the condition, known as congenital cataracts, because of an infection or injury caused while still in the womb. A traumatic injury to the eye or development of diabetes can also result in cataracts. Further, the condition can be brought on by smoking cigarettes, consuming mass quantities of alcohol, and/or living in polluted areas.

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Causes of Cataracts

An accomplished ophthalmologist and surgeon, Dr. Anthony Roberts has dedicated much of his career to the treatment of cataracts. Dr. Anthony Roberts has addressed multiple cataract cases through the use of lens replacement and laser technologies.

While often commonly considered a disease of old age, a cataract can develop at any time and from number of contributing factors. All cataracts are characterized by a reduction in the transparency of the eye’s lens, although different types of cataracts affect different parts of the lens. As common wisdom holds, a senile or age-related cataract stands out as the most common type. This variety of cataract typically affects the lens’ interior section, clinically known as the nucleus.

By contrast, congenital cataracts are present at birth. These may be caused by a maternal infection during gestation, a genetic condition, or a developmental disorder. Young children may also develop cataracts due to a childhood or inherited condition, such as dermatitis or hyperthyroidism. Some physicians refer to these as congenital cataracts, depending on the cause. Children of all ages, as well as adults, may also develop cataracts after an injury to the eye. Finally, patients of any age are susceptible to secondary cataracts. These stem from illnesses such as diabetes or may arise following exposure to radiation, steroid drugs, or ultraviolet light.