Risk Factors for Cataract and Ways to Prevent It

Published On Nov 22, 2020 5:30 AM By Sakshi Aggarwal

According to the latest data provided by John Hopkins Medicine and WHO, cataract amounts to almost 51% of cases of blindness all over the world. It is possible to remove cataracts by surgical procedures. But in many countries, the lack of basic infrastructure renders the necessary procedures inaccessible. With the increase of life expectancy globally, the number of cataract patients is rising, resulting in low vision in countries regardless of their wealth and development.

What is a Cataract?

In simple terms, a cataract is an opaque, foggy area that builds in the lens of the human eye, preventing clear vision. The primary constituent of the optical lens is water and a special kind of protein. Together they keep the clarity intact so that light can go through without a hindrance. If the eye's proteins are clogged due to some reason, the optical lens can no longer send clear images to the retina. It is the primary stage of the formation of cataracts. Its development is gradual until, eventually, it appears to hinder a person from having a definite vision.

Mostly, this condition occurs as we age. But in many cases, children are born with it. Trauma or optical injuries are also responsible for cataracts.

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Some Major Symptoms of Cataract

Some of the notable symptoms of cataracts are as follows:

  • Hazy eyesight
  • Magnified sensitivity to strong sources of light
  • Double vision
  • Reduced nocturnal sight
  • Difficulty to recognize color

What are The Risk Factors of Cataract?

The risk factors usually related to cataracts are varied.

1. Old Age: In younger people, the optical lenses are clear and quite flexible. With the increasing age, the lenses' flexibility is reduced, and grey areas gradually overcloud the entire lens. This is how the cataracts are primarily formed.

2. Excessive Exposure to UV-Rays: Sunlight is the primary source of harmful Ultra Violet B rays. Therefore unobstructed exposure to the sun may result in cataracts.

3. Smoking: The habit of smoking and excess consumption of tobacco may lead to several cardiovascular problems. It impacts the blood vessels in the eye and prevents blood and protein from flowing smoothly.

4. Alcohol: Alcoholism, in many cases, results in a higher risk of cataracts.

5. Diabetes: It is one of the main concerns behind the formation of cataracts. Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus are 60% more likely to be suffering from cataracts in the later stages of their life.

6. Obesity: Recent studies have found obesity to cause the nuclear type of cataracts.

7. Previous Eye Trauma: After a blunt trauma to the ocular space, a kind of cataract may form in the spot. It is called a traumatic cataract. Most of them are intumescent.

8. Family History of Cataracts: Some disorders can cause an increased risk of forming cataracts if it is inherited genetically. People with cataracts in their family tree are at increased risk of having it.

9. Blood Pressure: There is a positive correlation between cataracts and high blood pressure. Therefore Individuals suffering from hypertension and increased blood pressure are more likely to have cataracts.

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Prevention of Cataract

The medical community highly debates the possibility of prevention of cataracts with a systematic approach. There is a scarcity of studies that prove the effectiveness of anti-cataract measures. However, experts recommend a few steps that might be useful.

  • Wear Sunglasses to ward off UVB rays
  • Restrain alcohol intake and reduce cigarette consumption daily
  • In the case of diabetes and hypertension, follow the recommendations of physicians.
  • Exercise regularly to maintain a standard weight.
  • Intake proper nutrients and vitamins. Studies suggest vitamin E is healthy for the protection of the eye. So it is advised that you eat plenty of spinach, almonds, and sunflower seeds in your daily diet.


A cataract is one issue that is becoming very prevalent in society. As the number of cases is increasing it is becoming very clear that age is no longer the determining factor. Although various health insurance policies cover the surgery, it is in our best interests to take preventive measures now.

Also Read: Importance of Health Insurance for Cataract Treatment Surgery in India

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.


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