Couple petting dog in the woods.

Cataracts affect more than 24 million people older than 40. Over half of all people older than 75 have had cataracts.

Developing cataracts is often age-related. In fact, cataract development is usually considered to be a natural part of aging.

But that does not mean that you can’t develop cataracts when you are younger. Keep reading to learn why you can’t be too young for cataracts!

You could have congenital cataracts at birth

Congenital cataracts are cataracts that develop in the womb and are present at birth. They occur either as a component of another issue, as a genetic trait, or unknown reasons.

Cataracts in children can cause other vision problems, such as lazy eye. This is because the inability to see while in vital stages of development can weaken their eyes.

When to remove congenital cataracts is something currently under debate. For many doctors, it depends on how severely cataracts are impacting a child’s vision.

Some infants have them removed at six weeks, while others have them removed at ten weeks old.

You could develop cataracts earlier because of your lifestyle

If you make poor lifestyle choices, you are more likely to develop cataracts early on. Smoking doubles or even triples the odds of someone developing cataracts early.

The UV radiation from sunlight can also speed up the development of cataracts. This means that if you spend a lot of time outdoors you are at a greater risk of early cataracts.

Poor diet and obesity can also lead to early cataract development.

You could develop secondary cataracts because of cataract surgery

When you have cataract surgery, you could develop secondary cataracts. Secondary cataracts from cataract surgery are not like normal cataracts.

Cataracts form inside of the lens. During cataract surgery, the entire lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic one or IOL.

The “cataract” forms by making the membrane holding the IOL in place opaque. If you have a secondary cataract, it can be easily removed during a YAG laser capsulotomy.

Can I prevent cataracts?

There’s no way to guarantee you’ll never develop cataracts. If you make smart choices, you can reduce your chances of developing cataracts early.

If you’re a smoker, one of the easiest ways to reduce your risks is by quitting. Not only will it benefit your eyes, but your whole body will be healthier.

Wear sunglasses that protect you from UV rays

It’s a good habit to wear sunglasses, no matter what time of year. But for the most benefit, they need to protect you from 100% of UV rays.

Wearing sunglasses that don’t protect you from UV rays can actually hurt your eyes! The dark lenses of your sunglasses will still cause your pupils to dilate.

The problem is that since they aren’t filtering out UV rays, more of them will enter your eyes.

Eat well

A diet rich in antioxidants has a positive effect on cataract prevention. This means plenty of green, leafy vegetables. Walnuts and oily fish are also good for your eyes, as they contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Worried about developing cataracts early on? Your best line of defense is regular eye exams! Schedule an appointment at Colorado Eye Consultants in Littleton, CO today! Your eyes will thank you!