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Age. Most Americans older than 60 years have cataracts.
Medical conditions. Diabetes and other systemic diseases, glaucoma, and metabolic abnormalities are associated with cataracts.
Physical injuries. Commonly called traumatic cataracts. A blow to the eye, great heat or cold, chemical injury, exposure to radiation (usually associated with radiation therapy for cancer patients), and other injuries can lead to cataract formation.
Ultraviolet radiation (UVA or UVB). Long-term exposure to sunlight is believed to speed the development of cataracts.
Steroids and other medications. Steroid pills (such as prednisone) and steroid eye drops, the gout medication allopurinol, the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, the heart medication amiodorone, and the long-term use of aspirin have also been associated with cataracts.
Smoking. Studies indicate that smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts than nonsmokers and that quitting can reduce the risk for developing cataracts.