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Causes of Early Nuclear Sclerosis of the Eye

by
author image Kate Beck
Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.
Causes of Early Nuclear Sclerosis of the Eye
Smoking may increase the risk for early development of nuclear cataracts. Photo Credit cigarette image by bright from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Cataracts develop when the natural lens inside the eye turns yellow and hard. Doctors classify the types of cataracts depending on the location and growth pattern of the cataract. A nuclear sclerosis cataract, also referred to as a nuclear cataract, grows in the central part of the natural lens. Nuclear cataracts commonly occur with age, but they may appear early. Knowing some of the causes and risk factors may help a person understand the condition.

Congenital Cataract

Some infants have nuclear cataracts at birth, a condition called congenital cataracts, states the Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute at Columbia University. The cataract usually covers a small central area of the natural lens but may not drastically affect vision. A parent or pediatrician will often notice a white appearance to the center of the pupil, an indication of a congenital cataract. Doctors will monitor the cataract for growth, and as the child ages, the doctor will ensure that the child does not have vision loss due to the cataract. In some cases, congenital cataracts may accompany other diseases or conditions, such as congenital rubella, Down syndrome or Lowe syndrome, explains MedlinePlus.

Injury

Injury to the eye may cause damage to the tissues of the natural lens, resulting in the early development of a cataract, according to MayoClinic.com. Wearing protective eyewear during sports such as racquetball may help prevent injury to the eye, which will reduce the likelihood of cataract development.

Disease

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing nuclear cataracts, reports The Eye Digest, an online publication of the University of Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary. For overall health, diabetics should monitor and control blood glucose levels to decrease the risk of complications of the disease, and this may also reduce the risk of developing an early cataract.



Doctors often prescribe steroid medications to treat certain conditions, and some eye conditions, such as extensive eye infections, may require steroid eye drops to help with healing. Long-term use of steroids may increase the risk for developing a cataract.

Lifestyle

Certain lifestyle factors may contribute to the growth of cataracts. For example, cigarette smokers and people who use steroids have an increased risk. In smokers, the various components in the cigarette may damage the protein and cells that make up the natural lens, explains The Eye Digest. Smoking cessation may not reduce the risks of cataract immediately, but stopping will have many positive effects on the body in general.

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