Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, with more than 25 million Americans affected by the condition. By 2050, that number will climb to nearly 50 million. Although cataracts are primarily associated with age, there are a number of factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing them.
At Foulkes Vision, our board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Richard B. Foulkes has more than 20 years of experience helping give his patients clear vision again. Dr. Foulkes has performed more than 20,000 cataract procedures during his career. If you suffer from cataracts, he will thoroughly examine your eyes and develop a treatment plan to help restore your vision.
This blog breaks down the risk factors for cataracts and what you can do to mitigate them.
Causes of Cataracts
Cataracts are collections of excess protein that form in your eyes and develop into a cloudy mass. Over time, you can develop more and more cataracts. This will lead to a visible fogging of your eyes' lenses that impairs your vision.
- Age: Age is perhaps the leading cause of cataracts. In the U.S., about 50 percent of people aged 65 to 74 and 70 percent of people 75 or older have cataracts.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are about 10 times more likely to develop cataracts than people without them. If you have diabetes, maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is critical to staving off cataracts.
- Exposure to sunlight without UV protection: Exposing your eyes to sunlight without proper protection can damage the proteins found in your lens, thereby making you more likely to develop cataracts. Make sure you wear sunglasses that offer 99 to 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB rays.
- Smoking: Smoking can double your risk of developing cataracts, and the danger only increases the longer you smoke.
- Obesity: Studies have shown that obesity increases your risk of cataracts about as much as smoking does. That's in addition to all the other negative consequences of obesity, including high blood pressure and diabetes — factors that can also independently give you a higher risk of cataracts.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure itself does not increase your risk of candidates, but beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, two of the most common blood pressure medications, both make cataracts more likely.
- Chronic eye inflammation: Uveitis, or eye inflammation, can lead to cataracts if it goes untreated for too long.
- Eye injuries: If your eyes suffer a trauma severe enough to disrupt your lens fibers, you may develop cataracts as a result.
Schedule Your Chicago Cataract Surgery Consultation Today
As a board-certified ophthalmologist who has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries during his 20-plus years of experience, Dr. Foulkes is one of the premier eye doctors in the Chicago area.
Dr. Foulkes serves Lombard, Naperville, Downers Grove, and nearby areas of Chicago. Call (630) 724-1400 today to schedule a consultation.