The Truth About Cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The disease affects the eye’s lens, the tissue used to focus clear images on the retina. Vision typically fades gradually as protein layers break down, causing blurry spots to appear. Over time, the lens can completely opacify, leaving no path for light to travel to the brain.

Age is only a number

Usually age-related, cataracts often begin appearing around 40 and worsen over time. The process can take years to reach the point where vision is affected. Some fast-growing cataracts can achieve the same sight loss in mere months. Trauma to the eye or face can also lead to cataract formation. In these instances, the ailment comes on quickly and leads to a fast visual degradation.

Choose a healthy lifestyle

In age-related cataracts, there are ways to slow the progression of the disease. One of the best methods involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle of exercise and making smart food choices. Processed or fried foods can speed up the rate cataracts take shape in the eye. Soft drinks and sugary snacks can have a similar effect. Generally speaking, avoiding these types of foods can positively impact your overall well-being.

Delicious and nutritious

On the flip side, consuming the right foods can help keep cataracts from making an appearance. If cataracts are already present, these foods can prevent blurriness from getting any worse.

Eat this, not that

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and certain seeds are a superfood for the eye. Vitamin C from a number of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. Nuts and seeds contain copious amounts of vitamin E, designed to protect the eye’s membranes. Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and wheat are known to improve eye health and lower the risk of cataracts at an early age. Other fruits and vegetables offer eye protection through vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Food isn’t the only answer

A well-balanced diet isn’t the only way to do battle against cataract development. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage proteins in the lens, leading to cataracts earlier in life. Sunglasses with UV blockers are a great way to prevent these harmful effects. Smoking can wreak havoc on the heart and lungs but can also produce free radicals or toxins that harm the eye. Limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks a day can also decrease the odds of cataracts forming. People with diabetes need to keep close tabs on blood sugar which can lead to a myriad of eye issues.

Can’t get rid of me that easily

At the end of the day, there’s no way to completely prevent cataracts from forming in both eyes. Changing up a poor lifestyle can certainly prolong good vision and push back the need for surgery. Even if everything appears normal right now, patients 40 and up should see the eye doctor on a regular basis. An ophthalmologist will be able to catch any vision-related issues and offer suggestions for maintaining stellar sight down the line.