How to Prevent Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, and according to the National Eye Institute, cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans aged 40 and older. By age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts.
How to Prevent Cataracts From Getting Worse
Cataracts are a common problem as we age, but there are things we can do to take care of ourselves. Developing cataracts (clouded lens) is inevitable but there are ways to see your best longer. Here are four tips on how to make your eyes happy:
Wear Sunglasses – Ultraviolet (UV rays) light speeds up developing cataracts so it’s important to protect your eyes when you’re outdoors. Wear sunglasses that block out 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. If possible, choose wraparound sunglasses for added protection. If you wear contacts, make sure they have UV protection too!
Eat A Healthy Diet – Foods like broccoli, kale, oranges, and tomatoes are especially good for optimal eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon and tuna have also been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. You can also get antioxidants from supplements like vitamins C and E.
Watch Your Weight – Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes, and people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop cataracts and need cataract removal surgery. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk.
Don’t Smoke – Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts so it’s important to quit if you currently smoke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start! Secondhand smoke is also harmful so it’s best to avoid exposure to it as well.
Have Regular Eye Exams – Early detection and treatment of eye problems is crucial in preventing vision loss from cataracts. Everyone should have a comprehensive eye exam with their eye doctor at least once every two years. If you are at high risk for developing cataracts or other eye problems, you may need more frequent exams.
Cataracts are the leading cause of treatable blindness globally, and half of Americans will experience cataract development by age 80. So how exactly can you prevent them? While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent cataracts from forming, the steps above can help to decrease your risk. If you notice any changes in your vision, such as blurred vision or cloudy vision, be sure to see an eye doctor right away as early diagnosis and treatment is key to preserving your sight.
Vitamins for Cataracts
While there is no cure for cataracts, certain vitamins and nutrients help you to keep your vision clear for longer. There are several vitamins and nutritional supplements that have been shown to be effective. These include:
-Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your cells from damage. It also helps your body to absorb iron, which is important for healthy eyesight.
-Vitamin E: Vitamin E is another antioxidant that has been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of cataracts.
-Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients that are found in green leafy vegetables and eggs. They help to filter out blue light, which can damage your eyesight. Studies have shown that people who consume foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to develop a cloudy natural lens (cataracts).
-Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, nuts, and seeds. They help to reduce inflammation throughout your body, including in your eyes.
Vision Problems with Cataracts
If you have cataracts, the natural lens of your eye will become hazy and opaque. Faces, objects, and things you once loved looking at may become blurry, less colorful, and as if you were looking through a dirty windshield. Below are a few images that may simulate what your vision currently looks like:
Your vision may have loss of color, becoming yellow and dull.
Cataracts may make your vision blurry.
With cataracts, you may also begin to see distorted images (also known as ghost images).
Surgery To Get Rid of Your Cataracts
The good news is, you don’t have to struggle through cataracts forever! Our team of specialized doctors are trained to help patients find the right intraocular lens (IOL) after cataract surgery so that you can enjoy life and all of its beauty once again!
In addition, Parkhurst NuVision not only helps YOU see your best, but it is our commitment that when you receive your vision correction, we will donate a sight saving procedure (like cataract removal surgery) to someone in need in an underserved community around the world. Contact our team at (210) 585-2020 or by clicking here!
Photos Courtesy of The American Academy of Ophthalmology.