What are the Causes for Cataract?

Most of the age related cataracts are caused when the natural lens in the eye becomes opaque due to clumping of certain proteins in the lens. This makes the passage of light difficult. In order to see clearly it is important that the lenses are transparent so that the light passes easily and captures a clear image on the retina. The cloudiness in the lens results in distorted vision or blurring causing cataract.

Distorted vision causes hurdles in the day to day activities and can result in accidents.

The cataract progression is a gradual process normally occurring after the age of 60 and may occur even early due to certain causes like diabetes or even by birth. Generally women are more affected than men.

Knowledge of the causes of cataract aids in safeguarding cataract as a precautionary measure to some extend but its occurrence cannot be completely stopped by medicines or therapy. Cataracts can occur in both the eyes simultaneously and sometimes in one eye it could progress rapidly. If cataract is left untreated it can cause blindness. Research is still in progress on understanding the exact cause of cataract.

The most known risk factor to cause cataract is the advancing age. This type of cataract is called senile cataract.

Other Causes:

Secondary cataract: Cataracts that are caused due to secondary effects of other diseases like diabetes, eye inflammations like uveitis, hypertension etc. called secondary cataract. These are not age related and can occur early.

Medications: Use of certain medications like steroids (corticosteroid) such as prednisone, antipsychotic medications, drugs used to treat glaucoma etc. can also cause cataract.

Genetic risk factors: Cataract could be inherited in the family though genes.

Environmental risk factors: Excessive exposure to X-rays and ultraviolet radiation as in the treatment for cancers may also cause cataract.

Eye Traumatic risk factors: The lens of eyes could get damaged due to eye injury, cuts or

punctures. It is necessary to protect the eyes with eye gear in case of high risk.


Congenital cataracts: Some children are born with cataract due to inborn abnormalities in the lens. This normally affects both the eyes and is not very common. Early eye check up at birth is hence important to rule out any possibility of cataract at birth.

Some suggestions:

  • Have a regular eye check up.
  • Protect your eyes with UV protected sunglasses as exposure to ultraviolet rays (UVB) from sun can damage the proteins in the lens of the eye.
  • Have a nutritious diet rich in antioxidant vitamins C and E, selenium, beta-carotene and lycopene.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking as it affects the lens.
  • Maintain a regular healthy life style and keep a check on the cholesterol, sugar levels, blood pressure and obesity.

The causes of cataract depend on the various risk factors. The only effective treatment for cataract is cataract surgery although vision researchers have suggested the alternative treatments in cataract where surgery could be avoided.

Do get in touch with us for a through eye check up.

A cataract treated in time, saves your sight.

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