Developing Cataracts At A Young Age? What Are Your Best Treatment Options?

Posted on: 10 May 2016

If you're in your thirties or forties and have begun to notice some blurring or dimming of your vision, you may have made an appointment with your optometrist under the assumption that your contacts or glasses prescription needs to be adjusted -- only to receive the sobering news that you've developed cataracts in one or both eyes. What may have caused this issue, and what are your best treatment options to preserve your vision for decades to come? Read on to learn more about what can cause cataracts at an early age, as well as some of your treatment options that offer the best chance of long-term success.

What can cause younger individuals to develop cataracts? 

Although cataracts are generally associated with age-related changes to the eye, the onset of cataracts can be dramatically accelerated with the right (or wrong) combination of environmental elements.

Ultraviolet exposure can cause early breakdown of your eyes' lens cells, speeding up the development of cataracts for those who spend a lot of time outside or behind the wheel. Welders and factory workers who spend a great deal of the workday around radio waves may also be at greater risk for the early onset of cataracts.

Certain health issues can also affect your eyes' ability to filter light. If you're on a long-term steroid regimen to manage your chronic asthma, eczema, psoriasis, or another illness, you may find that your vision begins to fail more quickly than other family members who aren't using steroids. Those with diabetes -- particularly uncontrolled high blood sugar -- or high blood pressure are also more prone to develop early cataracts. 

What are your best treatment options to preserve your vision? 

Fortunately, the younger you are, the better the likelihood of a successful cataract surgery. This quick and relatively painless procedure involves the removal of your eye's natural (damaged) lens and replacement with an artificial lens. Although your artificial lens may need to be replaced at some point in the future due to changes in the shape or structure of your eye caused by aging, this option should help provide you with clear vision for decades to come. 

Cataract surgery is also ideal for those whose cataracts were likely caused by health issues. Although there are certain eye drops and medications that can help slow the spread of cataracts, without resolving the underlying health issues that led to the development of cataracts, it's likely that surgery will become necessary in the future. Removing your damaged lens preemptively will avoid further damage to your eye and allow you to notice an immediate improvement in your vision.