Causes

Cataracts have several causes and may be age-related, present at birth, or formed as a result of trauma or exposure to a toxic substance. The most common cataract is age-related (senile cataract). Traumatic cataracts develop after a foreign body injures the lens. Complicated cataracts develop as secondary effects in patients with metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes melli-tus), radiation damage (x-ray or sunlight), or eye inflammation or disease (e.g., glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, detached retina, recurrent uveitis). Toxic cataracts result from drug or chemical toxicity. Congenital cataracts are caused by maternal infection (e.g., German measles, mumps, hepatitis) during the first trimester of pregnancy.

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