A cataract is an eye condition caused by the clouding of the crystalline lens. The eye has a natural lens that focuses light on the retina. As the lens matures, it becomes denser and more opaque. This blocks light from passing through the lens. Cataracts are very common for anyone over the age of 40 and can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Cataract Risk Factors
The following items increase your risk of developing cataracts:
- Increasing age
- Excessive exposure to sunlight
- High blood pressure
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
As you can see, several things are known to contribute to the development of cataracts. But, that doesn’t mean cataracts can be prevented. In fact, some of the key risk factors, including age and some medical conditions are out of your control. Still, it’s smart to take steps that might slow the development of cataracts.
Manage Heath Problems
Specific health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure may contribute to the development of cataracts. If you have any chronic health problems, it is crucial to keep your conditions under control. Take the prescribed drugs and follow the instructions provided by your doctor.
Watch Your Diet
Food plays a vital role in your overall eye health. Having a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help ensure your eyes remain healthy and functional for as long as possible. Both antioxidant and glutathione rich foods such as broccoli, spinach, avocados, and grapefruit are all great for eye health.
Avoid Smoking & Alcohol
Smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, as well as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, have been tied to a higher risk of cataracts. Smoking alone can cause cardiovascular problems, which can lead to problems in the blood vessels of your eyes.
Protect Your Eyes
Sunglasses are not an optional accessory; they are an essential prescription for eye health. Sunglasses help you filter light and protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. It’s a good idea to wear protective sunglasses any time you’re outside during daylight, not only when the sun is exceptionally bright or shining at an angle that disturbs your vision.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Annually
While this won’t prevent cataracts, it can help you better manage the condition. Also, your eye doctor will screen you for diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma, which can require complicated treatment if you have cataracts.
If you are experiencing vision changes, please contact your eye doctor at your earliest!