A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that occurs naturally with age. Cataracts affect nearly 22 million Americans age 40 and older and by age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts. While there is no scientific proof that you can prevent cataracts, there are certainly steps you can take to help reduce your risk factors.
Tips for Preventing Cataracts
Maintain Regular Vision Care – Even if your vision is clear and healthy, make it a priority to schedule yearly eye exams. Routine visits allow your doctor to look for signs of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other vision disorders. Early detection can be key in saving your vision.
Eat a Healthy Diet – A healthy diet should be a priority for all of us. Eating foods high in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, selenium and vitamins C and E, may help ward off cataract development.
Quit Smoking – Research suggests that smoking doubles your chances of developing cataracts and the risk continues to grow based on how much you smoke.
Limit Alcohol Consumption – Like cigarettes, excess alcohol consumption can pose a number of health risks including an increased chance of developing cataracts. So enjoy your wine, beer or cocktails in moderation.
Protect Your Eyes from the Sun – Research has shown that years of chronic sunlight exposure could increase your risk of cataracts. Make sure you wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection when outside for extended periods.
Control Diabetes – Studies suggest that those with diabetes are at greater risk for developing cataracts. That is why maintaining healthy blood sugar is so important—for both your overall health and the health of your vision.
No matter your age, there are steps you can take to help prevent cataracts or slow their development. Don’t wait until your vision becomes affected to start thinking about cataracts. While these tips may help for a while, if you develop a cataract and start to experience vision loss, contact your eye doctor right away. Cataract surgery is a simple procedure to treat the condition and restore vision.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment in Austin, contact Westlake Eye Specialists at 512-472-4011 or westlakeeyes.com today.