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What causes early onset cataracts?

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Quick Answer

Physical trauma, diabetes, hypertension, excessive ultraviolet light exposure and exposure to radiation may lead to early-onset cataracts, as stated by the Eye Care Institute. More than 50 percent of all people have developed cataracts by age 80.

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What causes early onset cataracts?
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Full Answer

Physical trauma affecting the eye may result in a white, clouded lens as well as inflammation and thickening of the lens, according to the Eye Care Institute. Although this inflammation normally goes away over time, the clouding may remain. Diabetes and hypertension are two diseases that are known to hasten cataract growth, resulting in early-onset cataracts. Certain skin conditions such as eczema may also be a risk factor.

Excessive exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet light is one of the most common causes of early-onset cataracts, as confirmed by the Eye Care Institute. Therefore, individuals in certain professions with excess sunlight exposure may have a greater risk of developing cataracts. Wearing sunglasses outdoors is an effective way to minimize this risk. Exposure to microwave and infrared radiation presents the same risk as ultraviolet light, so welders, satellite workers and individuals who work with radio or radar equipment may be more likely to develop cataracts. Depending on the severity, treatment for cataracts in any age group may include corrective lenses or surgery.

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