Facebook Pixel

Cataract Causes & Risks


The lens of the eye is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. A cataract forms when some of the protein clumps together and starts to cloud an area of the lens. A cataract won't spread from one eye to the other, although most people develop cataracts in both eyes at a similar times.

There are several causes of cataracts, including:

  • Aging (the most common cause)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Taking adrenal cortical hormones for a long time
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • Birth defect

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Exposure to UV-B radiation from sunlight
  • Family members with cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Smoking

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. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

The Latest in Cataract Causes & Risks

ASK Your Health Question

It's FREE and you'll get a response within 24 hours


POST Info, Tips & Stories

Inspire others to learn from your experiences. Tell your story!

Get Email Updates

Cataract Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!