While cataracts are usually considered to be a problem exclusive to the elderly, a 33-year-old computer engineer recently developed a cataract after years of working in an environment in which he was exposed to direct sunlight.
Kuang Tien General Hospital said the man, surnamed Chen (陳), started experiencing photophobia and blurred vision about six months ago and found his eyes to be extremely sensitive to oncoming headlights.
Chen sought a consultation at the Greater Taichung-based hospital and was diagnosed with a posterior subcapsular cataract in his right eye — an opaque area at the back of the lens.
As the condition had caused the vision in the eye to deteriorate to 0.5, doctors immediately scheduled him for surgery to remove the cataract, which helped restore his eyesight.
Chen said he was shocked to discover that he had been suffering from a disease usually found in the elderly, though he had constantly experienced dry eyes at work.
“There is a window to my right at the office, so the right side of my face had been extensively exposed to sunlight several hours a day for the past decade,” Chen said, adding that he had been oblivious to the discomfort this was causing his eyes.
The hospital’s head of ophthalmology, Ching Cheng-chao (金正詔), said posterior subcapsular cataracts are usually caused by long-term exposure to UV rays or steroids.
Ching said the patient must have had his right eye exposed to sunlight for many hours a day, otherwise he would not have come down with the disease at such a young age.
“If he had not received timely treatment, he could have ended up losing his vision altogether,” Ching said.
Ching advised people to wear sunglasses on sunny days to prevent UV ray damage to their eyes and to make adjustments to furniture at home or in the office if the current layout subjected them to direct sunlight.