Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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What Causes Cataracts at an Early Age?

Monday, 23 Aug 2010 09:15 AM


Question: I developed cataracts in both eyes at an early age (40-45). What could have caused them?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Cataracts are opacities that form within the lenses of our eyes. They may be scattered, small, microscopic densities that cause little difficulty or they may be uniform, cloudy, and diffuse, impairing light transmission to varying degrees.

Cataracts often cause blurred non-focused vision. Sometimes dense cataracts progress to actually causing loss of all but light perception. Cataracts may be either congenital or acquired. Excess UV exposure from a lack of eye protection and unprotected sunlamp exposure are very common reasons for premature onset of cataracts, as is genetic predisposition. Other causes may relate to medication use and/or trauma, infection, underlying medical disorder, or toxic exposure.

Age-related senile cataracts form increasingly as we age, especially as we age into the 70s and 80s, but some people never develop cataracts. You are very young for senile cataract formation, however. When deposits occur within our lens, the ability of the lens to adjust for focusing is also impaired, the lens is stiffer and less compliant, and is usually unable to fully fine-adjust and focus.

Removal and replacement of the lens (lens extraction and replacement) is a popular procedure for remedying nuisance cataracts that have impaired vision. Cataract extraction is done by medical specialists called ophthalmologists. It is done as an outpatient procedure using high-tech probes and rarely requires hospitalization as in the past.








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