cataract hand written with a pen

Although most cataracts are classified as age-related and tend to cause problems with a person’s vision after the age of 60, it is certainly possible to develop cataracts at an earlier age. Some people get age-related cataracts in their 40s or 50s. Others develop cataracts even younger because of external factors.

Experts have identified some key risk factors besides advancing age that can contribute to the development of cataracts earlier in life. Read on as the team at Eye Care of San Diego reveals what can cause early cataracts.


Individuals with diabetes are at a heightened risk of developing cataracts earlier in life than they would have otherwise. This is especially true for individuals whose diabetes is not well controlled with medication and lifestyle habits.

Steroid Medications

One of the biggest causes of early-onset cataracts is the prolonged use of corticosteroid medications.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, particularly light from the sun, has been linked to the early development of cataracts. This is one of the reasons why ophthalmologists and optometrists encourage people to wear sunglasses with UV protection if outdoors for long periods of time.


Smoking increases the risk of several eye diseases, including cataracts. Lifelong smokers are more likely to develop cataracts than people that do not smoke.

Traumatic Injury to the Eye

A traumatic injury to the eye can cause changes within the eye that lead to cataracts.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

According to the National Eye Institute, more than half of all Americans have had a cataract or had cataract surgery by the age of 80. When performed by a qualified surgeon, cataract surgery is a safe and routine surgery. During the procedure, the eye’s cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a sophisticated intraocular lens that restores clear vision after cataracts.

No matter what age you are, you should seek an ophthalmologist’s opinion if you experience symptoms of cataracts like blurry, distorted vision, dull colors or glare at night. You could have early-onset cataracts and be at risk of losing your previous eyesight.

To make an appointment with the team at Eye Care of San Diego, please call (800) 765-2737 or email us today.