Nearly half of all adults who reach the age of 75 develop cataracts. This common eye condition clouds the natural lens, causing blurry or hazy vision. At Laser Eye Center of Miami, our award-winning eye doctors meet with patients who are worried about the formation of cataracts. Here, they explain what age cataracts should become a concern.
Cataracts Can Happen at Any Age
While it is true that most cataract patients are senior citizens, cataracts can strike at any age. It is not unheard of for cataracts to form in a person’s 20s or 30s. A small but significant number of children develop cataracts in their youth, and some babies are born with cataracts. When juvenile cataracts or congenital cataracts affect vision, surgery may be warranted, even at a young age.
Patients who develop hazy vision from cataracts before the age of 60 are diagnosed with “early onset cataracts.” The precise cause of this condition is unclear to doctors, but certain risk factors are known to increase a person’s chances for developing early onset cataracts, including:
- Genetics (family history)
- Frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays (especially without sunglasses)
- Eye injury
Cataracts Start Earlier Than You Think
Most patients are not diagnosed with cataracts until after the age of 60, but for many the process starts much sooner. Around the age of 40, the lens of the eye begins to deteriorate. Cataracts form when proteins and fibers present in the lens clump together. Because the initial symptoms are subtle, they usually go unnoticed for another two decades.
Over time, the lens becomes cloudier. Although comprehensive eye examinations can identify cataracts before the symptoms are obvious, people generally do not realize they have cataracts until their vision is impaired.
When Should You Worry?
Researchers have yet to identify a way to prevent cataracts. While the progression of certain eye diseases can be slowed through early intervention, that is not the case with cataracts. The best thing to do is continue scheduling annual eye examinations, which can help identify cataracts before they become a significant problem.
Although there is no cure for cataracts, the good news is that they do not need to be feared. Cataract surgery is easy and effective. It is performed more than any other kind of surgery in the United States. The procedure replaces the eye’s natural lens with an intraocular lens (IOL) to uncloud vision. Cataract surgery has a low complication rate and cataracts cannot form on an artificial lens.
Schedule Cataract Surgery
You do not need to allow cataracts to degrade your quality of vision at any age. At Laser Eye Center of Miami, patients can count on receiving top-notch cataract surgery and eye care. For an appointment to discuss cataracts, please call (305) 443-4733.