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What Are the Risk Factors for Cataracts?

When it comes to maintaining your vision, the vision experts at Nevada Eye Physicians suggest regular eye exams. These examinations detect and diagnose eye issues, such as cataracts, that affect your vision. During Cataract Awareness Month, we want our patients to understand what cataracts are and who is most at risk for them. To schedule an eye exam, contact one of our seven locations in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, NV.

How do cataracts form?

We have a lens inside our eyes. This lens bends light rays that come into the eye to help us see clearly. The light passes through the eye while producing images on the retina. The lens should be clear. When you have a cataract, it becomes cloudy, similar to a foggy car windshield. This causes things to look hazy or blurry. As one ages, the lens will become thicker and less transparent. Any changes in vision are usually a reason for most of our patients to visit one of our Nevada eye centers for an eye exam.

Cataract types

There are many types of cataracts, including:

  1. Nuclear cataracts: These are cataracts affecting the center of the lens. First, it will cause more nearsightedness, but with time it will turn more yellow and further cloud vision. As the cataract progresses, the lens can turn brown.

  2. Cortical cataracts: These cataracts affect the edge of the lens. It starts as white, wedge-shaped streaks on the outer edges of the eye. As it progresses, these streaks will develop to the center and interfere with light that passes through the center of the lens.

  3. Posterior subcapsular cataracts: These cataracts form near the back of the lens, directly in the path of light. This will reduce vision in bright light and cause halos around lights during nighttime.

Cataract risk factors

Most cataracts that we see in our patients at our eye center in Nevada develop from aging or injury, which causes changes in the tissue in the lens. Genetics can also play a part since they can lead to some patients being more susceptible to cataracts.

Some risk factors that increase one’s risk of developing a cataract include:

  • Diabetes

  • Long-term use of steroids

  • Past eye surgeries

  • Family history of cataracts

  • Excessive exposure to UV rays

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Past eye injuries

  • High blood pressure

Symptoms of cataracts

Some common cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision, light sensitivity, a need for bright light for reading (especially at night), fading colors, double vision in one eye, or increased difficulty seeing at night. Sometimes the cloudiness in vision will only affect one part of the eye. As the cataract grows, it will cloud more of the lens, leading to it becoming more noticeable. At Nevada Eye Physicians, we suggest an eye exam every time you notice changes in your vision.

Diagnosing and treating cataracts

Our vision professionals perform eye examinations involving tests that can determine if you have a cataract. Visual acuity tests how well you can read letters on an eye chart, which helps us to evaluate your prescription. A slit-lamp examination allows us to see various structures on the front of your eye when they’re magnified, enabling us to see abnormalities such as cataracts.

After we diagnose a cataract, our vision professionals can discuss treatment options that will help your vision and eye health. For less severe cases, we may suggest eyeglasses that help you to see better while reading or when driving at night. For other patients, with more severe cases, we may suggest cataract surgery. At Nevada Eye Physicians, we offer traditional cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery, which correct your vision after cataract removal.

Cataract prevention

One of the easiest ways to prevent cataracts from progressing is by having regular eye examinations. This helps our vision professionals to regularly evaluate your eye health and to detect abnormalities. This allows us to treat problems quickly before they progress and significantly affect your vision. Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection also helps prevent the development of cataracts.

Learn more on how to treat cataracts in Nevada

At Nevada Eye Physicians, our vision professionals perform regular eye exams that detect cataracts. When we detect them, we offer many treatment options, ranging from glasses for those who want to use them to help with their vision or, in more severe cases, traditional cataract or laser cataract surgery. When you notice changes in your vision, call one of our seven locations throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump to schedule an eye exam.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.