Cataract as part of aging

The lens is made mostly of water and protein. As we age, the lens continues to grow layers on its surface and hardens. Protein in the lens may clump together and become cloudy in some areas, preventing light from passing clearly through the eye. This cloudiness of the lens is what we call a cataract.

If the clouding is mild or only involves a small part of the lens, your vision may be only slightly affected. If there is more clouding and it affects the entire lens, your vision will become severely limited and cataract surgery becomes necessary.

Less common types of cataracts, not related to normal aging, include the following.

Congenital or developmental cataracts

This type of cataract can occur in infants or children. They may be hereditary or they can be associated with some birth defects. Some occur without any obvious cause.

Non-age related cataracts from other disease or medication

These cataracts are caused by other eye diseases or previous eye surgery. Chronic disease can make you more likely to develop cataracts; for example, diabetes has been proven to increase risk for cataracts. Excessive use of steroid medications can spur development of this type of cataract as well.

Traumatic cataracts

These cataracts are related directly to an eye injury. Traumatic cataracts may appear immediately following injury, or they can develop several months or even years later.

Written by
Reviewed by Dr. Elena Jiménez on Feb. 1, 2014

Pop needs to be configured.