Cataracts is the world’s leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 40, with 20 million people in the United States suffering from the disease. According to Prevent Blindness America, there are more cases of cataracts than glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined.
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye gets cloudy, causing vision to become blurry. Aging is the primary cause of cataracts, although cataracts can also result from diabetes, excessive exposure to UV rays and smoking. The only treatment is surgical removal of the cloudy lens, which gets replaced with an intraocular lens.
Currently, it’s not possible to prevent cataracts. However, there are some strategies that may help slow the progression of cataracts.
Regular Eye Exams: Eye exams give doctors a chance to look for early signs of cataracts.
Wear Sunglasses: Ultraviolet light can speed up the formation of cataracts, so protect your eyes when outdoors. Be sure to wear sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection.
Quit Smoking: Research has shown that smoking increases the chance of developing cataracts. Smoking less or not at all will minimize that risk.
Keep a Healthy Weight: With studies showing that people with diabetes are at greater risk for developing cataracts, it’s important to maintain healthy weight and blood sugar. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment plan if you have diabetes.
Maintain a Healthy Diet: Following a healthy diet may also reduce the risk of cataracts. Dark, leafy greens and colorful fruits are an ideal source of antioxidants, which can neutralize the activity of free radicals that cause cellular damage. The consumption of foods high in omega-3s, such as fish, has also been linked to reduced risk of cataracts.
Although a healthy diet is the best way to get the nutrients you need, supplements may also help. Studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidant vitamins helped reduced the risk of developing cataracts. The most promising vitamins include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium and carotenoids like Lutein and beta carotene. If you already suffer from cataracts, however, you should consult your doctor before taking vitamin supplements.
If you suspect you may be developing cataracts, be sure to consult a doctor about proper treatment. You can reach our Los Angeles eye doctors at 877-871-1684.
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