Do you want to achieve cataract prevention? Studies show that 98% of cataract surgery is very successful. This condition causes eye lenses to become blurry, with people typically developing the condition after their 40s. This highlights the need to know facts about cataracts including symptoms, causes, and treatment. In terms of available treatments, the only effective “cure” is cataract surgery. It was first performed in France in 1747 and is the most effective method for dealing with the condition. Other treatment options are being researched/developed although there are no FDA-approved treatments besides surgery.
Several preventative steps can be taken to lower your risk of cataracts. It’s important to note that none of them give you a 100% chance of not getting the eye condition. However, you can greatly lower your risk by eating healthy, wearing sunglasses with UV protection, and getting a good night’s sleep. These methods and others won’t technically achieve cataract prevention but can help lower your risk of getting it. As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” You can greatly boost your chance of preventing cataracts by taking some basic steps including lifestyle changes.
What Exactly Are Cataracts?
This is the first big question to deal with. If you’re 60+ years old and you’re experiencing cloudy vision then there’s a chance you might have cataracts. This condition often develops at 40+ years old. It can be treated by a doctor so it’s important to schedule a checkup if you think you might have the condition.
Cataracts are developed when there’s a protein buildup in the eye lens. This causes cloudy eyes and blurred vision. The reason is light is unable to pass through the lens. Cataracts can cause you to lose some eyesight.
It’s worth noting that there are various kinds of cataracts. You don’t have to know everything about them but it’s worth noting that there are various kinds. They include age-related, genetic, secondary (UV light, radiation, diabetes, steroids, etc.), and injury.
These are some of the main categories of cataracts. However, other factors can affect your risk of getting them. They include heavy alcohol drinking, cigarette/e-cigarette smoking, and UV light exposure.
In most cases cataract form slowly. Patients often aren’t aware they have the eye condition until it starts blocking light. Possible symptoms include:
- Problems with day glare
- Problems with eyeglasses/contacts
- Changes in seeing color
- Problems with night vision
- Blurry/cloudy/foggy vision
Cataracts are diagnosed through an eye exam to test a person’s vision. The eye doctor will also dilate the pupil to check various eye parts including the lens. It’s important to bring your eyeglasses/contacts to your appointment.
There are various treatments for cataracts. In some cases, eyeglasses or contact lenses can fix the vision. However, in other situations, cataract surgery is required. This is especially needed if the cataracts are affecting your day-to-day life.
Cataract surgery involves removing the eye lens and adding an artificial one. About 95% of all patients report better vision post-surgery.
Top Tips for Cataract Prevention
- Reduce alcohol drinking. If you’re going to drink this is another reason to limit your alcohol intake. Studies show that reducing alcohol consumption can lower your risk of several conditions including cataracts. If you’re going to drink make sure to limit it to one drink/day for women and two/day for men.
- Control blood sugar. If you have diabetes then it’s especially important to watch your blood sugar levels. Studies show this can help to prevent cataracts. It turns out that diabetes increases your risk of cataracts. Make sure to avoid foods that cause blood sugar spikes like white sugar, refined flour, etc.
- Eat a healthy diet. Make sure you’re eating lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It helps lower your risk of cataracts. Some key vitamins include Vitamin A and E. You can also get important nutrients from foods like fish, carrots, leafy greens, and fruits.
- Wear sunglasses. Make sure to pick shades with quality UV protection. This includes UVA and UVB rays. This is especially important if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. You should also consider other options like a wide-brimmed hat or visor.
- Stop smoking. It can provide various benefits in terms of eye health. In fact, besides benefiting your lungs and heart it can also reduce your chance of cataracts by 2x. Your risk of cataracts increases by how much you smoke.
- Avoid long-term steroid medicines. Studies show that long-term steroid use can increase the risk of cataracts. However, there’s some debate about risk factors for certain products like nasal spray steroids.
- Regularly visit your eye doctorEGULARLY VISIT YOUR EYE DOCTOR
It’s essential to get a regular eye checkup even if you have healthy eyes and clear vision. Make sure to schedule a yearly eye exam. That allows your doctor to check for signs of vision disorders like cataracts and glaucoma. Early detection can help to protect eyesight.
Top Cataract Risk Factors/Treatments
Health experts don’t know the exact age-related changes that cause cataracts. However, various factors might increase the risk of developing cataracts.
One of the main factors is age. People’s risk of cataracts starts increasing in their 40s. However, it starts to spike in the 60s. Middle-aged/senior adults need to get yearly eye checkups to help detect cataracts. This can be critical in helping with prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
There are various other factors related to cataract risk including:
- Eye injury/inflammation
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Past eye surgery
- Cholesterol medicines (some)
- Long-term steroid use
- UV radiation
- High blood pressure
One popular theory about cataract development is that they’re often related to oxygen-related changes to the human lens. It is based on various studies that show high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables might help to treat some kinds of cataracts.
When patients first have cataract symptoms, the vision can sometimes be improved short-term using eyeglasses, contacts, and visual aids like lighting. However, if the condition becomes worse, then you should think about surgery.
This is especially true if the eye condition starts to affect your vision and day-to-day life. Studies show that the vast majority of cataract surgeries are successful, so it’s an option you should consider. The procedure is quite basic and involves swapping in the damaged lens and swapping in a new one.
New plastic lenses are being developed to make cataract surgery easier for patients. The lenses provide different benefits including blocking radiation/high-energy blue light. These factors could cause eye damage.
After cataract surgery, you’ll likely still have to use reading glasses. You also might need to wear other eyeglasses to correct some vision issues. It’s important to talk to your eye doctor about the options you have as well as cataract prevention.