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Age-Related Cataracts

As you age, proteins normally found in the lens of the eye can be slowly destroyed by certain chemicals called free radicals. These chemicals are formed during normal cell function (metabolism). Increased levels of free radicals can also be caused by the environment, such as from ultraviolet radiation (as in sunlight) and tobacco smoke.

As lens proteins are destroyed by free radicals, the lining (capsule) surrounding the lens may let excess water enter the lens and make it cloudy. This cloudiness of the lens is referred to as a cataract. Age-related cataracts usually progress slowly. But sometimes they progress rapidly.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
Last RevisedAugust 24, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 24, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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