Health Conditions - For Everyone

Risk Factors for Cataracts
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Risk factors for cataracts

There are a number of risk factors which increase the risk of cataract development. Some of these risk factors are:

Age - over 65

People who are over age 65 are at a much higher risk of developing cataracts, as the eye becomes more prone to damage, as the eye tissues becomes thicker and less flexible, not working as well as it used to. This greatly increases the risk of cataract development.


People who have a metabolic disorder such as diabetes, are at a higher risk of developing cataracts because many systems in their body are not functioning properly, including circulation to the eyes.

Drinking alcohol excessively

Excessive alcohol intake is linked to a higher risk of cataract development since the dietary intake may not be adequate enough to fulfil the proper requirements of a healthy diet and a deficiency in the antioxidants especially may increase the risk of cataract development even more. People whose alcohol intake is excessive over a prolonged periods are the most at risk of cataracts.

Family history

People with a family history of cataracts (direct family relatives with cataracts) are at a higher risk of developing cataracts at some point too.

Injuring the eye

Studies have shown that people who have accidentally injured their eye in some way, have a higher risk of developing cataracts. This is because the eye injury could cause the eye to become less flexible, have scar tissue and not function properly.



Certain medications increase the risk of damage to the eyes and likely development of cataracts. The medications that mostly increase the risk are corticosteroids, which are usually prescribed for asthma, allergies and similar conditions.

Rubella infection in pregnancy

Pregnant women who develop a rubella infection (German measles) when pregnant increase the risk of causing the development of cataracts in their unborn child. These type of cataracts are known as congenital cataracts and are an unfortunate (but small) risk associated with German measles in pregnancy.

Smoking cigarettes

Smoking is another very well known risk factor for the development of cataracts. This is because smoking causes many adverse effects on various systems in the body, including the circulatory system. Smoking also depletes the antioxidants in the body, which are needed by the eyes to prevent damage, so the lack of the antioxidants together with the smoking are very high risk factors for cataract development.

Sunlight exposure

Long term exposure from ultraviolet light from sunlight is another risk factor for cataract development. This is because the ultraviolet light can damage the eye, enable oxidation to occur and predispose the eyes to development of cataracts.


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  Last reviewed: 2 September 2007 || Last updated: 30 January 2009


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NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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