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How is a cataract formed?

The lens of an eye is made up of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through. A cataract forms when some of the protein clumps together and begins to cloud a portion of the lens. Over time it grows larger and affects your vision.


Change from a normal lens epithelium (A) through proliferating epithelial cells (B, C) to final subcapsular fibrous plaque and formation of a new continuous basement membrane (lens capsule) (D).


Risk Factors

• Age

• Close relatives who have/had cataracts (family history)

• Diabetes

• Ionizing radiation exposure

• Statins

• Long-term exposure to bright sunlight

• Long-term use of corticosteroids - many people with asthma rely on inhaled, and sometimes oral steroids, as do people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A study conducted by the Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Australia, revealed that cataract risk is higher for patients taking these medications

• Previous eye inflammation

• Previous eye injury

• Exposure to lead

• Crystallins loss of function - A specific type of protein (crystallins) begins to lose function as the eye ages. As the protein loses function, small peptides, made of 10 to 15 amino acids, start forming and accelerate cataract formation in the eye, a study revealed.


• Don’t smoke

• Avoid overexposure to sunlight

• Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol

• Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables

• Avoid Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation

o Wear a hat while in the sun

o Wear sunglasses

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