Southern California NVISION Laser Eye Centers Says There Are Eight Risk Factors To Forming Cataracts

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Blurred vision, washed-out colors and problems seeing at night? For thousands of middle aged and otherwise healthy individuals, this could be the early signs of cataracts, says Dr. Richard Burns of NVISION Laser Eye Centers.

Blurred vision, washed-out colors and problems seeing at night? To most eyeglass wearers, symptoms such as these would signal it was time to get a stronger prescription. But for thousands of middle aged and otherwise healthy individuals, they could be the early signs of cataracts.

“A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. As a normal part of aging, the eye’s natural lens starts to lose its flexibility and starts crystallizing, which causes impaired vision,” explains Dr. Richard Burns who performs laser refractive cataract surgery at NVISION Laser Eye Center’s Palm Desert and Murrieta locations.

“With cataract surgery, a cataract surgeon is able to create a corneal incision and then insert a miniature ultrasound tube to remove the crystallized natural lens. Through the same incision, the cataract surgeon will then insert a new artificial lens that helps restore the patient’s vision. This replacement lens is called an intraocular lens, or IOL,” says Dr. Burns.

According to Dr. Burns, the following are the top eight risk factors to forming cataracts:

1.    AGE
Nearly everyone who lives long enough will develop cataracts to some extent. Some people develop cataracts during their middle-aged years (40s and 50s), but these cataracts tend to be very small. It is after age 60 that cataracts are most likely to affect vision. Nearly half of people age 75 and older have cataracts.

2.    GENDER
Women face a higher risk than men.

Cataracts tend to run in families.

African-Americans seem to have nearly twice the risk of developing cataracts than do Caucasians. This difference may be due to other medical illnesses, particularly diabetes. African-Americans are much more likely to become blind from cataracts and glaucoma than Caucasians, mostly due to lack of treatment.

Hispanic Americans are also at increased risk for cataracts. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment among Hispanics.

People with certain medical conditions, notably diabetes, are at high risk for cataracts, either because of a direct effect of the disease, its treatments, or both. Obesity is also a risk factor for cataracts.

Exposure to even low-level UVB radiation from sunlight increases the risk for cataracts, especially nuclear cataracts. The risk may be highest among those who have significant sun exposure at a young age. People whose jobs expose them to sunlight for prolonged periods are also at increased risk.

Smoking. Smoking a pack a day of cigarettes may double the risk of developing cataracts. Smokers are at particular risk for cataracts located in the nuclear portion of the lens, which limit vision more severely than cataracts in other sites.
Alcohol. Chronic heavy drinkers are at high risk for a number of eye disorders, including cataracts.

Long-term environmental lead exposure may increase the risk of developing cataracts. Gold and copper accumulation may also cause cataracts. Prolonged exposure to ionizing radiation (such as x-rays) can increase cataract risk.

“If you do end up with cataracts and have avoided all the risks factors above, don’t despair. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S. today with more than three million procedures a year. Most patients can see some improvement in vision the same day. Today, nearly any type of cataract can be removed in an efficient manner,” concludes Dr. Burns.

About NVISION Laser Eye Centers

NVISION Laser Eye Centers has 15 locations throughout Southern California from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. Last year, NVISION Laser Eye Centers became the first provider in California to offer LASIK eye surgery with the Swiss-engineered Ziemer Femto LDVD Crystal Line™ Laser -- the highest level of laser vision correction available today. NVISION is also the first provider in California to offer the bladeless, computer-controlled LenSx laser, the most technologically advanced option for cataract patients.

With more than 1,300 eye doctors who refer their patients and trust their own eyes to NVISION surgeons, NVISION Laser Eye Centers is the Eye Doctors’ #1 Choice, and serves the counties of San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino.

For more information, visit or call 1-877-91NVISION (1-877-916-8474).

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