Exposure to sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, scientists have found. A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally transparent lens of the eye.As the opacity thickens, it prevents light rays from passing through the lens and focusing on the retina, the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. It is the leading cause of blindness world-wide.
Researchers found people who were exposed to high levels of sunlight, or solar radiation, were up to four times more likely to develop cataracts.
The researchers, led by Dr Cecile Delcourt, from the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM), said: "It seems that sunlight exposure throughout a lifetime may be important to cataract formation."
The greater the dose of solar radiation, the higher the chance of developing a cataract. Mr Jonathan Dowler, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said previous research had also linked cataract formation to light exposure.