Cataracts are a normal part of growing old for most people. By age 65, about 50% of people have cataracts, and by age 75, nearly everyone has them. Although cataracts seem to be a normal part of the aging process, there may be some things you can do to postpone cataracts and potentially reduce their severity.
Quit Smoking and Avoid Smoky Environments
Smoking has been strongly correlated with cataract formation in several studies. One of the best things you can do for your eye and overall health is to quit smoking. Even if you are not a smoker, being subjected to second-hand smoke may be just as dangerous to your eye health.
Protect Yourself from UV Rays
Ultraviolet light (UV) may contribute to the formation of cataracts. When you are outside, wearing sunglasses rated to protect against UVB rays may help prevent cataracts.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Some studies say that eating the right kinds of fruits and vegetables might help prevent cataract formation. Leafy green vegetables are especially important, but eating an overall balanced diet is better than trying to get one particular type of nutrient. Studies have not confirmed that any dietary supplement has a significant effect on cataract prevention.
Keep in Good General Health
Some conditions, like diabetes, can speed up the formation of cataracts, so if you have a medical condition, it is important to follow your treatment plans for any diagnosed conditions. Be aware that some medications may contribute to cataract formation, and talk to your doctor about this possibility.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Perhaps the only way to truly prevent cataracts is to pre-empt them by removing the eye’s lens before it becomes cloudy. Many people begin losing near vision during their 40s. This condition, known as presbyopia, is related to the eye losing its ability to accommodate, and some believe is an early sign of the changes in the lens that later lead to cataracts. Some people choose to treat presbyopia with refractive lens exchange, replacing their natural lens with an advanced intraocular lens (IOL). Since cataracts form in the lens and cannot form in an artificial lens, these people will never develop cataracts.
Regular Eye Exams
No matter what type of prevention you are trying to reduce your likelihood of suffering cataracts, you should get regular eye exams as you get older. Not only will this help you to decide on an optimal cataract treatment, but it can help you detect other eye conditions that may threaten your vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.
If you are interested in cataract prevention, you should talk to an ophthalmologist today. Please contact us to get in touch with one in your area.