Cataracts are the number one causes of blindness in the world. The first thing you probably think of when you hear the word “cataracts” is the elderly. It is understandable why that would be the case, because cataracts are most commonly seen in the elderly, but you don’t need to be elderly to develop them—in fact, babies can be born with cataracts.
While rare, cataracts have been seen in newborns—it is estimated that between 3 and 4 children per every 10,000 are born with or will develop congenital cataracts. There are multiple causes for this, but the most common include: trauma, metabolic dysfunction, and infections developed while in utero.
In a healthy eye, light enters the eye through the cornea and passes through the lens, which then focuses the light onto the retina, which finally relays the information through your optic nerve into your brain. A cataract is the clouding of your eyes natural lens. The cataract blocks light coming into the eye thus not allowing the eyes lens to focus the light properly, which in turn causes blindness.
There are a multitude of reasons why you might develop cataracts before the age of 45. The most common reasons people develop cataracts at a younger age are: diet, medication usage, other health issues, physical trauma, and over exposure to UV rays. It is important to protect your vision, because it can be damaged easier than you think.
Detecting cataracts early in those who begin to develop them early is essential in protecting their vision for the future. If left untreated, your eyes will not develop correctly and you will have vision problems the rest of your life. Make sure to schedule regular eye exams with your eye doctor to ensure your eyes are in good health.