When you think of cataracts, you may assume it only impacts older people. However, cataracts can affect younger people as well. This is known as early-onset cataracts. Early-onset cataracts are not as common but they can happen. As a younger person, you should know the signs and symptoms of early-onset cataracts and how you should deal with them. Here are some things you need to know:

How Do Cataracts Form?

Cataracts are formed as the clear lens in your eye begins to get cloudy. This causes poor, foggy vision. When you have cataracts, it is more difficult for light to get into the eye. This will cause your vision to be blurry and can lead to blindness.

What Causes Early Onset Cataracts?

There are several reasons why you might develop early-onset cataracts. There are some medical conditions that could lead to the development of cataracts such as diabetes, eczema, and elevated blood pressure. Other issues that can cause early-onset cataracts are consistent use of steroids, hyperparathyroidism, prior trauma to the eye, and a family history of cataracts.

Children can also develop cataracts, but they are typically attributed to congenital issues caused by a gene mutation. The proteins in the body can change the structure of the lens in the eye. Mothers who develop the flu, rubella, or measles during pregnancy can result in cataracts in their children.

In addition, there are some environmental issues that cause early-onset cataracts. Constant exposure to satellites, radio waves, microwaves, and UV rays are common causes of cataracts.

How Do You Treat Early Onset Cataracts?

The only way to treat cataracts is cataract surgery. This surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist as an outpatient. It is a relatively short procedure. Before the surgery, the doctor will dilate your eyes with eyedrops. You then receive a local anesthetic to keep the area numb. You are awake during the surgery, but the doctor can offer you a sedative if you are unable to relax.

Once the surgery begins, the doctor will remove the bad lens. This is done in one of two ways. The doctor can break up the lens using a probe through a small incision in the cornea. The doctor then inserts a probe that uses ultrasound waves to break down cataracts. The doctor may opt to remove the bad lens in one piece through a small incision using small tools. You can discuss with your doctor which option they prefer to use.

After the cataracts are removed, the doctor then implants a new, artificial lens to replace the bad one. You will need a few days to heal, but your vision will eventually be fully restored after the procedure. 

For more information about cataract surgery, contact a local ophthalmologist.