A cataract is a clouding in the lens of your eye, blurring your vision and increasing the sensitivity to glare from lights, especially when driving at night. The chance of developing cataracts increases as you age. More than half of all Americans have a cataract or have had cataract surgery by the age of 80.
Increasing age, a family history of cataracts, smoking, excessive alcohol use, having certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and having a previous eye injury or surgery make you more prone to developing cataracts. While there’s no way to prevent aging or family history, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a cataract and requiring surgical repair.
See your eye doctor regularly. It’s important to have regular eye exams with your eye doctor so they can test your vision and diagnose and treat any problems in their earliest stages before further damage is done.
Stop smoking. Smoking is associated with several medical conditions, and there is a higher risk of developing cataracts if you are a smoker. Talk to your doctor about medications, programs and other suggestions on how to quit.
Reduce alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use is associated with several health problems. Several studies show an increase in cataracts for people who consume more than two drinks per day, compared to those who have lower or no alcohol consumption.
Eat a healthy diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will give you essential vitamins and minerals that are associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have antioxidants such as vitamins C and E that can help you maintain the health of your eyes.
Manage your diabetes. Those who have certain medical conditions such as diabetes are at higher risk for cataracts. If your sugar levels are too high for too long, the lens of your eye will swell and cause damage.
Wear sunglasses. Studies show that if your eyes are exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun that you have an increased risk of developing cataracts. Choose sunglasses that will block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to wear them even when it’s cloudy, as the sun’s damaging rays can penetrate through the clouds.
For more ways to improve the health of your eyes, call (800) 676-5050 to set up a consultation with Eye & Lasik Center at one of our several locations.