A direct blow on the eye, if it is severe enough, can cause the lens to become opaque. An injury from a squash ball is a typical example of the type of force required. Sometimes the appearance of the cataract might be delayed even for several years. The onset of unilateral cataract must always make one suspect the possibility of previous injury, but a cause-and-effect relationship can be difficult to prove in the absence of any other signs of previous contusion. It seems unlikely that a cataract would form unless there had been a direct blow on the eye itself, although occasionally medicolegal claims are made for compensation when a cataract has developed following a blow on the side of the head.

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