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Cataracts are a common part of aging, and often only associated with senior citizens; however, they can occasionally affect younger patients as well. There have been cases of patients much younger than their 60s, 70s, or beyond developing cataracts. In fact, some patients have developed cataracts in their 50s and even their 40s. Although cataracts at a young age are not common, it is important to know the warning signs, potential causes, and how they are treated.

WHAT ARE CATARACTS AND WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?

Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy or yellowed, eventually impairing vision. Typically they are not noticeable until they begin to interfere with vision, usually in the 60s or later according to the National Institutes of Health. Early onset of cataracts is not typical, but common causes of early cataracts include traumatic injury to the eye, eye disease, diabetes, use of steroidal medications, or a family history of early cataracts. On some occasions, however, there are no clear causes. One newer theory about the onset of early cataracts is that our increasing reliance on smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices may be speeding the development of vision problems at earlier ages.

Patients with diabetes or hypertension are at increased risk of early development of cataracts, particularly if their disease is not well controlled. Those suffering from skin conditions such as eczema also appear to have an increased risk. A history of smoking not only compounds risk of other diseases, including hypertension, but also the development of cataracts.

Among the working, those who work outdoors or in certain environments are also at greater risk of early development of cataracts. Ultraviolet light exposure, particularly exposure to the UV rays of the sun greatly increase cataract risk, thus those working outdoor jobs, pilots, and others with excessive sun exposure during their workdays are at risk and should always use sunglasses that offer broad spectrum UV protection. Glassblowers, welders, and those working around radar, satellites, radio waves, or microwaves also are at increased risk.

SIGNS OF POSSIBLE CATARACT DEVELOPMENT

Among younger cataract patients, the first sign of a problem is typically difficulty seeing clearly at night or hazy vision that is more noticeable in bright light. These patients may have no difficulty during normal levels of light or even when reading a vision chart. Without intervention, the vision difficulties become more and more pronounced, leading to significant vision loss and even blindness.

CORRECTING CATARACTS — CATARACT SURGERY

While older patients may sometimes delay cataract surgery, younger patients who are still working or raising families may benefit from earlier direct intervention, including surgery. Thankfully, cataract surgery is one of the most common corrective eye surgeries performed in the United States. The entire process, from checking in for your surgery, filling out paperwork, preparation, and surgery, may take as little as two hours, with the surgery itself often taking less than 20 minutes.

Cataract surgery involves a small incision in the cornea through which the natural lens is removed and an artificial lens is inserted. The eye is then covered with gauze and a patch. Typically the patient returns the following day for a follow-up examination, during which the gauze and patch are removed. The eye may appear bloodshot with some swelling at first. Eventually these symptoms will resolve, although you may still need to wear a patch at night for some time. Most patients describe the entire process as nearly painless. The vision may fluctuate over the next several weeks, but eventually the vision will stabilize.

After cataract surgery, many patients find that their vision seems to be better than ever in certain situations, particularly when looking at a distance. However, many patients also find that to use near vision, particularly for reading, they may need glasses as artificial lenses are not flexible like the natural lens and thus aren’t able to accommodate both near and far vision.

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with cataracts, or any other visual disturbances, please call Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 (Independence/KC) to schedule an examination. For many vision problems, not only cataracts, early intervention is crucial in either slowing or stopping the progress of the disease.

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74 Responses to “CATARACTS AT AN EARLY AGE?”
  1. christopher lemus says:

    My mom had premature cataracts at 28 years old

    • LM says:

      My Mom developed cataracts in her 20s too. Had one removed back in the 60s. It was a big surgery then; I remember her wearing metal eye patches over both eyes for several days.

    • Ashlyn says:

      I’m 23 and my caterac surgery is scuduled in 2 weeks 🙁

      • KL says:

        I’m so sorry :(. I’m 30 and about to go through this myself. What type of lenses did you choose? How do you feel about them? Thank you. I’m just nervous and looking for opinions from people in a similar situation as me.

      • Daniella says:

        I am 23 and also need to get surgery as I am struggling to see with my glasses and I have such pain. Could you fill me in on what to expect?

  2. Anurag Kalra says:

    Any side effects of early cataract surgery or at later stages.
    Secondly, any probability of loosing eye site ate later stage.
    Thirdly, this artificial lens will last long for how many years and at later stages second surgery is required?

    • Hello Anurag,

      Thank you for contacting us. We’d love to be able to give you a definitive answer to your questions, but the truth is that every patient is different. Your eyes will respond differently to treatment and any artificial lens implant. It’s best you speak with your ophthalmologist, or schedule an appointment to come in and see us, and get a complete exam so we can best determine how successful cataract surgery will be for you.

    • Dr Ajay Kumar Gupta says:

      Cataract surgery has side effect depends on condition of the eye. Inflamed eye may react more than normal eye. Their may be chances of uveitis and glaucoma after cataract surgery. Specific cataract surgery will very less likely cause any problem. Artificial lens will work for long life

  3. Alyssa says:

    I am 21 yrs old and the doctor found my cataract in May 2016 it was at 10% went back to the doctor in October 2016 the cataract was at 30%. I know at 40% surgery is considered. I am very young and plan to have a career working in a laboratory, should I put off surgery as long as possible or will surgery really benefit my vision and have no vision issues after?

    • Hi Alyssa,

      Cataract surgery is very common, although not as common in people your age. It’s best to discuss your options with your doctor and carefully consider the pros and cons. If you’d like a second opinion, we’d be happy to take a look. You’ll need to schedule an appointment, but we can certainly find a time to consult with you. Best of luck!

      • Todd says:

        Regarding the monofocal vs multifocal lens, I’d recommend looking into multifocal contact lenses if you already have monofocal implants. From what my ophthalmologist told me there is little difference in the optical technology between the contact lenses and implants. Certain brands have three set distances and others have a full gradient of range. That’s my plan after I get my other eye done.

    • Mary says:

      I had a cataract removal at 34 years of age in one eye. I was seeing 20/50 with glasses so I decided to have it removed. I got a monofocal lens implant. I think I made a mistake. I have 2 pair of glasses now. One for upclose and one for far away. This shouldn’t have happened in my opinion. I would really research lenses. I bet I should have gotten multifocal lens and spent more money. I would REALLY research all your options before choosing a lens. The surgery was very easy but my outcomes I did not like. Too late now for me to change my mind. I am 35 years old now and still upset.

      • Heather says:

        I have the same regret! I had cataract surgery on both eyes at age 35 and my eye dr recommended monofocal lenses. I had always been nearside, I am highly disappointed and still cry at times almost 2yrs after the surgery because I cannot see correctly AND am still battling inflammation from the surgeries!!!!

      • Alicia Molina says:

        Bifocals with progressive lenses would be a big help! One pair of glasses instead of 2.

  4. ed says:

    can anything improve night vision with cataracts

    • Hi Ed. Obviously the most effective treatment would be surgery to remove the cataract. However, there may be alternative treatment options (like special lenses treated with an anti-reflective coating). It would depend largely on the severity of your cataracts and whether or not they appear in one or both eyes. If you’d like to discuss your options, please feel free to call us and schedule an eye exam. We would need to see you and complete a thorough exam before we could make any specific recommendations. Thanks!

  5. Rrezarta says:

    I wanted first of all to ask if there is any possibility that aesthetics can cause cataracts. I’ve been diagnosed with nuclear cataracts at age of 20, but I’ve noticed a major change on my sight since I had a surgery (not in my eyes). And I thought that tit was caused by that. I have a constant feeling that my eyes are coered with a light cloth.

    • That’s a difficult question to answer. Without knowing your health history or the current condition of your eyes, we couldn’t say whether or not surgical anesthetics have had any impact on your vision. Cataracts at a young age isn’t unheard of though. We would need to complete a thorough exam to offer any insight into the cause. Are you planning to have cataract surgery any time soon?

  6. Mary says:

    Has anybody ever had the Posterior Capsulotomy done to clear up vision after cataract surgery? I had cataract surgery in right eye and got the monofocal lens. I am now seeing 20/25 in right eye due to the small amount of blurriness. My eye doc says she would do it. I see 20/20 in my left eye with glasses. Anybody ever had a bad/good experience with this? I am trying to decide should I go ahead and do it or wait it out. I am worried it could do more harm than good. I had disappointing results with cataract surgery and am scared to do anything else to my eye.

    • Alicia Molina says:

      I had a yag laser capsulotomy done after cataract surgery. It was like the cataract was coming back- cloudy vision through one eye. That restored it back to my new normal. My only regret is getting strictly distance lenses. Now I must wear bifocals glasses. My vision after everything is somewhat disappointing, but better than cataracts.

  7. Mehak says:

    I had cataracts at an early age (23) and was operated on last year with multifocal lenses, but I’m still facing problems as it didn’t work for me … it sometimes creates pain and my vision is blurry … what should I do?

  8. Ajay Kumar says:

    Are their any possibilities of cataract at age 28?
    Today I went for a general check up and came to know that in my left eye a cataract is forming.
    I want to know the reasons of cataract in early or young age.

    • Hi Ajay,

      It is possible to develop cataracts at a young age, and there could be any number of factors causing them to form. UV light exposure, a family history, and smoking just to name a few … Be sure to schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor to keep an eye on it. At some point you may wish to have the cataract removed, and there are many new procedures available that can dramatically improve your vision. If we can be of any assistance, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. Best of luck to you!

  9. Alfred Jan says:

    I heard a lecturer today who said that in developing countries, women who cook on wood burning stoves get inundated with smoke so badly that 30 year olds get blinding cataracts. Are there any studies which support this claim?

  10. Sandie says:

    My 19 yr old son was diagnosed with cataracts. He is scheduled for surgery next week. Should I be concerned that there are other health issues? the doctor says its rare and was surprised. I’m now concerned.

    Thanks

  11. Jill says:

    Hi, I am having cataract surgery in October. My child will be 15 months. Can you explain to me what I need to be careful of when caring for a toddler? Bending? Lifting? Thank you.

    • Hi Jill,

      Everyone heals a little differently, and your doctor will likely have some specific advice for you. However, we’d suggest you should refrain from (a) bending with the head below the waist, (b) lifting more than 10 pounds, and (c) straining to the point of holding your breath. All of these activities increase the pressure inside the eye and can open the incision. Best of luck with your surgery – if we can help you with anything else, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.

  12. Vijay says:

    Hi,
    I am 35 and had a cataract surgery to my left eye in may 2017 and the doctor told me the reason behind this is auto immune disorder.. Again in august 2017, i visited another doctor as my left eye vision is getting blurred again.. She told me that due to my back pain and muscle pains, the eye is getting infected and suggested me to consult a rheumotologist. I went there and had all the possible diagnostics and nothing was diagnoised with that.. She gave me Folitrax-10 tablet once a week for 6 months, but i’m getting abdominal pain when i use that tablet. Few of my friends are suggesting to take 2nd opinion from another rheumotologist. Does the cataract happen with the transmitted cells from the partner. Kindly help me out.

    • Hi Vijay,

      Back and muscle pains do not cause eye infections, so it’s a little difficult for us to know what’s actually happening with your eye. If you’re in the Kansas City area, it would be best for you to call our office and make an appointment — then we can assess what’s really going on with your cataracts and vision issues. Also, to answer your question, cataracts are certainly not caused by any transmitted cells.

  13. Phillip Hardin says:

    My first cataract came on at age 39 in my left eye and my second cataract followed 18 mon later in my right eye. My doctor recommended the multifocal IOL. Five years later (after surgery on both eyes), and I have to say it was a great decision. No need for glasses and I have had no problems at all with either eye. I go back each year for a check-up. At the time multifocal IOL was not covered by insurance but maybe that is getting better now.

  14. Dacia Randolph says:

    HX: I had strab srx at 3 (1977) then again at 5 (1979)….
    In 2011 I visibly started observing a decrease in VA in my left eye…Early 2012 I went to see my opth..stating halos at night..blurry hazy va…
    My opth stated most likely was due to the strabs…I was 38..
    I had it removed replaced with a standard lens..
    In 2015 I began having the same symptoms with the Right eye..my good eye…I was examined by a Retinal specialist where I still work and he stated I had a PSC .
    I was asked if I had diabetes..No…htn? Yes controlled..over use of steroids? NO..
    A FRIEND of my employer removed the cataract it was a 3+ PSC at that point…
    I’m still wondering if the cause was my former strab..?
    And I have a Toric multifocal lens in there…ever since the srx I’ve developed a annoying all the time twitch I’m my right eye…is it due to the difference in lenses?
    Thanks

    • Hi Dacia,

      Eye twitching is extremely common and likely nothing to worry about. It’s not caused by a difference in your lenses, and will likely clear up on its own. If however, you’re concerned that it might be something more serious, please call our office to make an appointment. The doctors will be able to better determine any issues after an exam. Thank you!

  15. Shashank Maurya says:

    I recently found that from my left eye i have been seeing a blurred image than that from my right eye i suspect that it is cataract.
    I am 17 years old, are there any chances for cataract in me in such an early age.

  16. Anonomus says:

    I had a cataract that started developing when I was 15. It grew slow at first, but then it grew rapidly and I had to get it removed the day after my 17th birthday. My surgery was about 9 months ago now, and I have had a constant headache everyday since the surgery was performed. Is this a side effect of the surgery? Will the headache ever go away?

  17. Ankit patel says:

    Hi
    I have observed since last 8 months that my right eyes have some problem and I cannot see clear in night and I have neglect that it is normal thing but today I have visited to nearest doctor and he said that I have cataract and I am literally socked that as ian just 28 years old and I have lots of responsibility in my life and in this age i have this situation. So my question is that if I will be surgery for this as soon as possible then how many years it will be procted my eyes and if is there any chances to happen other extra difficulty in future or deceased regarding eye problem?

    • Hi Ankit,

      Without actually performing an exam on your eyes, there’s no way for us to know the specific condition of your eyes. If the surgery is performed by a properly trained ophthalmologist, then your sight should be restored. As for the long-term benefit of cataract surgery, it will help you see much more clearly. Hopefully you will not have any complications, but again, without knowing your medical history and the condition of your eyes, we cannot say for sure what the outcome will be. Best of luck to you!

  18. Cindy Helms says:

    Hi… I’m 17, just found out that I might have cataracts, and it’s kinda terrifying me…. Especially knowing my eyesight changed drastically since last year…
    I’ve had lazy eye in my right eye since… Well, forever, double vision too… and that makes me even more scared to think those’ll factor in to make it harder…
    Reading, writing, I love those things, especially on my phone and laptop…. and I’m just… Worried, I guess, that I’ll lose the ability to do it like I do now.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Don’t be terrified — cataracts aren’t as scary as they probably sound. Do your research, and ask all the questions you need to ask during your next appointment. As long as you’re well-informed about your options, you’ll be able to make the best decision about your treatment plan(s). Best of luck to you!

  19. Vimal shah says:

    Hi
    I am vimal shah and my age is 28. Before few days i have been noticed that I have some problem while driving in night. So i visited eye specialist so he said that I have cataract in my both eyes from my birth and now you have realised that as you are daging some problem in vision so you have to be operate your both eyes. so i am ready for operation but after then is there any difficulty in future ? Or how much validity of these lens as my age is just 28 so please give me guidance.

  20. Princess says:

    I had Cataracts when I was 3y/o

  21. Macaidyn says:

    I have a friend who’s daughter is 14 years old and she has a cataract in her left eye. Is this normal?

  22. Steven jumba says:

    For the past six months I notice I can’t see things clearly during the day and night to,until I wear glasses now I can see clear,am 31 years ,I used to have perfect sight for the past 29 years what can be the prioblem,and what can I do coz I don’t like wearing glasses kindly advise

    • Hi Steven,

      Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if your eyesight is changing. It’s not uncommon to need glasses as you get older. If your vision issues are caused by a cataract, surgery may be a more permanent solution for you, but we would have to examine your eyes before making any specific recommendations. Best of luck to you!

  23. The King says:

    I had a cataract removed four years ago when I was 31. I was very active in my early 20s, and the doctors suspected that the cataract was the result of an old rugby injury. I took a number of hits to the eyes in those days, and nothing happened for eight years. I used to wear spectacles before my surgery — worn them since the age of 16 — so now I require a contact lens on the eye I did not have surgery on. The eye that had the cataract, while not perfect, is as good as new.

    The whole cataract was scary when it first happened. I’d gradually noticed a “smudge” in my eye. Initially I thought it was maybe the glasses, but when I wiped them, the “smudge” remained. Then one morning I woke up not able to see anything out of my left eye. It was scary as I’d temporarily moved in with my sister, and the drive to work was an hour long, meaning I had to drive home at night. It was a nightmare.

    • KL says:

      Hi, if you don’t mind me asking, what type of lens did you get and how is it working for you? I’m going to have my cataracts removed soon. I’m 30 years old and am nervous about the permanence of this decision. Apparently multi focal lenses aren’t an option for me. Thank you for any thoughts you might share!

  24. Renee says:

    My daughter just turned 30 and has cataract really bad in her left eye and some in her right but not as bad. She can not make out her daughters face and can’t drive. Thankfully she is having surgery on the 15th, however they want to do both eyes at the same time. Is that normal? I’m 48 and had cataract surgery last year but they did one eye and then the other a 2 weeks later. I’m very concerned. Please advise.

  25. Dana says:

    Hi,
    My husband is 49 years old and has had a cataract since he was a toddler. He has been mostly blind in his left eye for all of his life. He can see shapes and a little color/light out of the left eye, but he always uses his right eye. He has been to 2 different eye surgeons who said they can remove the cataract, but he’s very worried about how his eye will be affected after the cataract is removed since he has had it all his life. Do you recommend having the cataract removed or is the uncertainty of what will happen with the vision in the affected eye too risky?

    • Hi Dana, we would need to meet with your husband to do a comprehensive exam before making any recommendations. There are all sorts of factors to consider, especially in his case given his history of cataracts. If you’d like a consultation, please give our office a call – we’d be happy to meet with you both. Thank you!

  26. paul johnson says:

    i am 20 years old my eyes a cloudy but i have a normal vision. what can be the possible cause of the cloud in my eyes and whats the solution to that. Thank you.

  27. angie says:

    My son was born 1LB 11oz. He is 16 at the early ages of only 13 we found out he had Cataracts. Due to having ROP surgery, he has a bad visual acuity of 20/400. Due to severe damage to his retina, the retina specialist decided to prolong the cataract surgery as long as possible. Now last week we found out that his lens is putting pressure on his cornea and that may cause Glacouma. Any information provided will be greatly appreciated. We see the Glacouma specialist tomorrow.

    • Hi Angie. Sorry we didn’t see this sooner … how did the appointment with the glaucoma specialist go? Any update? We can’t really make any recommendations without actually performing an exam on your son’s eyes. Everyone is different, and there are far too many factors to consider before making any specific treatment suggestions.

  28. Thompson says:

    is 33 to young for cataract surgery? I’ve had cataracts nearly all of my life and although I can see well enough with glasses, it’s still something that bothers me. The blurriness is very uncomfortable but I’ve gotten use to it.

  29. Lisa Hartley says:

    I’m 43 and a non-smoker. I just had an eye exam and was told I have a cataract forming in one eye. I’m so devastated as I feel I’m way to young for this to happen. Help!!

  30. Tony says:

    I’m 33 and have had cataracts all my life, is that too young to get cataract surgery? I had a bad eye injury when I was a teenager, where my eye was pushed in a bit so I’m not sure if that would affect me being able to get cataract surgery. I’ve already saw one ophthalmologist who said that I do qualify for cataract surgery but wanted me to get my retina checked out in case of detachment or tears.

    Wouldn’t cataracts have to be interfering with my daily activities in order for insurance to cover it? I mean I could still see with glasses but night driving is scary. Thank you!

  31. KL says:

    Hi, I’m 30 years old and have cataracts in both eyes due to steroid injections for the treatment of my pars planitis. My doctor said I can’t get the multi focal lenses because of all of my inflammation issues. I realize I need to be examined before making recommendations as it pertains to me, but I’m curious in general why multi focal lenses aren’t an option for people with inflammation problems from diseases like pars planitis. Also, why? Looking for another doctor’s perspective. Thank you!

  32. Grace W says:

    I was diagnosed with Cataracts at the age of 16 yrs old. As well 2 of my other siblings were as well diagnosed with the same condition before their 20’s. But the strange is that no family members had the problems or issues in our family history until their late 50’s +. A specialist informed us that hes never seen such young patients including 3 siblings out of 9 siblings all having the same eye condition.

  33. Ramdas says:

    Dear all my cousin have only 25 years old.local doctor declared her catarac

    • Trishna says:

      Cataract can be occurred at any stage of life so don’t feel abnormal. I was 25 when I took cataract surgery with multifocal lense and four years later, my vision is as clear as it was developed by perfectionist surgeon. If u’ll put multifocal lenses or trifocal lenses so there is no need of wearing glasses.

  34. Regina Myrie says:

    Hi, I am diabetic! Have been for many years. I am 33 years old and was diagnosed wit Cataract. The doctor said there was no bleeding of blood vessels or damage by the sugar. Is it normal though to have cataract so early?

  35. Ali says:

    I am a 17 year old female. At random times i would blink and it will turn blurry than i will blink again and my vision becomes normal. I have 3 diopters in astigmatism. I do see double in things. Could cataracts be the cause of my blurriness.

  36. Irfan says:

    I am 29 and have got a cataract in one eye. My eyes have never been injured and there no particular cause that could have caused it mentioned above.
    My eye doctor today said that it might be possible that your eye lens is broken because of injury. So, it might be possible that I might loose my vision and there is risk in the surgery.
    I am going to take a second opinion though however I am scared after hearing this. I live in Ahmedabad, India.

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