Risk Factors for Cataracts

Having a risk raises your chances of getting a health problem.

You can get this eye problem with or without the risks below. But the more you have, the greater your chances are. Ask your doctor what you can do to lower your risk.

Risks may be:


This is the most common risk. About half of all people between the ages of 65 and 75 have this eye problem.

Health Problems

These health problems may raise your risk:

Environmental Risks

Being exposed to radiation, toxins, and too much time in the sun can raise your risk.


Smoking can raise your risk.

Drinking Alcohol

Drinking too much can raise your risk.

Genetic Risks

Having people in your family with some types of cataracts can raise your risk.

This eye problem is not common in children. But some children are born with or get cataracts due to problems at birth, metabolism or chromosome problems, infection, or other reasons.

Eye Harm

Eye injuries raise your risk.

Eye Surgery

Some eye surgeries can raise your risk.



Cataract. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Cataracts in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.
Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Informed consent: obtaining from patients undergoing surgery. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscoho.... Updated September 14, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.
What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Updated November 9, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardJames P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 2/13/2019

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