A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop cataracts with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing cataracts. Ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts.
Risk factors may include, but are not limited to:
The most common risk factor for cataracts is age. Approximately half of all Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 have cataracts.
The following medical conditions may increase your risk of developing cataracts:
- Any medical condition that requires you to take steroid medications for a long period of time
- Certain infections
Both exposure to radiation and excessive exposure to sunlight can increase your risk of developing cataracts.
Smoking can increase your risk of developing cataracts.
People with relatives who have certain types of cataracts are more likely to develop cataracts than people who do not have relatives with cataracts.
Cataracts are not common in children. However, some children are born with or develop cataracts due to birth defect or prenatal infection, or other reasons.
Eye injuries—such as those suffered from a cut, puncture, or hard blow—increase your risk of developing a cataract.
Certain eye surgeries, such as
surgery for a retinal detachment, can increase your risk of developing a cataract.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
website. Available at:
The Merck Manual of Medical Information.
17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
National Eye Institute website. Available at:
Last reviewed [Under Medical Review] by Christopher Cheyer, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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