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Cataracts and Ultraviolet Light

Topic Overview

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as sunlight, is absorbed by the lens of the eye and can lead to the formation of chemicals called free radicals inside the lens. Over time, free radicals may damage the lens, causing cataracts.

People exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight because of their profession (such as agricultural workers), geographic area (such as sunny parts of the country), or use of tanning booths or sunlamps may be more likely to form cataracts.

It is not known for sure whether reducing UV exposure helps prevent cataracts.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Carol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
Last Revised August 8, 2013

Last Revised: August 8, 2013

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