Cataracts

A cataract is an opacity of the eye's lens that reduces visual acuity and usually occurs bilaterally. With aging, the proteins in the lens begin to break down and precipitate, causing it to become opaque. They cause vision problems and are the most common cause of blindness, affecting more than 60% of people over 75 years old.

The cause of the disease is the denaturation of the lens proteins. The process can be favored by a number of risk factors:

  • Age. It is the main risk factor, being especially common in those over 70 years old.
  • Other uncontrolled diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension.
  • Radiation. Excessive sun exposure (UV radiation), infrared rays, or ionizing radiation can cause cataracts.
  • Eye injuries or trauma.
  • Smoking.
  • Some medications, such as corticosteroids.
  • Undiagnosed celiac disease.

Symptoms

Cataracts develop slowly and without pain, with a progressive worsening of vision. Once the cataract is evident, visual problems may include:

  • Sensitivity to glare.
  • Cloudy, blurry, hazy, or dim vision.
  • Difficulty seeing at night or in low light.
  • Double vision.
  • Loss of color intensity.
  • Difficulty seeing contours against a background or distinguishing between color shades.
  • Seeing halos around lights.
  • Most people with cataracts experience similar changes in both eyes, although one eye may be worse than the other.

Prevention

The appearance of cataracts is difficult to prevent since age is the main risk factor. However, there are a number of actions we can take to reduce the risk of occurrence:

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Use sun protection, with a hat and sunglasses when it shines directly.
  • Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Control diabetes and/or hypertension if you have it.
  • Avoid the use of corticosteroids as much as possible.

Find out if you have a genetic predisposition to diseases and obtain valuable information about your health. Click to learn more.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

24 loci

Genes analyzed

ARMS2 BAMBI C3orf49 CASZ1 CDKN2B COA1 COQ8A IGFBP3 KYNU LRIG3 METRNL MMAB MVK OCA2 PLCG1 PRXL2A QKI SCGB1C1 SLC24A3 SMIM38 SOX2 ST6GALNAC4 TSPAN10 TYR VSTM4

Bibliography

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