Body Break Down

Cataracts are typically an age-related disease affecting the eye’s natural lens. Over time, the proteins in the lens begin to break down and lose transparency. Images entering the eye can become blurry or cloudy and ultimately more difficult to discern. If left alone, cataracts may lead to complete blindness in the affected eye.

Can’t hold them off forever

Because cataracts often form with age, there’s no way to prevent the condition indefinitely. That said, patients can take precautions to potentially slow cataract growth and keep clearer sight for longer. These safeguards can also play a role in better overall health and wellness.

Eat right

A balanced diet can go a long way toward reducing the progression of cataracts. Antioxidants in particular are known to block ocular cell damage from harmful free radicals. Vitamins C and E carry an abundance of antioxidants and are often found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Lutein and zeaxanthin from eggs and leafy vegetables can have the same effect. Foods such as fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also counteract vision loss.

Limit sweet treats

People with diabetes are more susceptible to the eye condition than others. Lenticular tissue swells when blood sugar remains too high for too long, raising the likelihood of damage. Similarly, the eye converts blood sugar to sorbitol, which can coat the lens. Keeping blood sugar in check can help prevent these issues from appearing.

Watch out for the Sun

The Sun emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can damage lens proteins in the eye. Purchasing a pair of sunglasses with 99% or 100% UV shielding can filter out those rays. Putting on a brimmed hat or baseball cap adds another layer of protection from the Sun’s light.

Avoid injury

An injury to the eye can also lead to the fast progression of cataracts, no matter a patient’s age. Always wear the proper gear when playing sports, such as a helmet or face mask. Safety glasses go a long way when handling chemicals or around power tools. Staying smart around projectiles or fireworks reduces the risk of debris landing in the eye.

Smoking prohibited

Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are bad for the entire body, not just the lungs and heart. The chemicals within create free radicals in the eye that may lead to a myriad of problems. In fact, smokers are 2-3 times more likely to develop cataracts than individuals who do not smoke.

Limit those drinks

Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of cataracts as well. Like with smoking, too much alcohol in the bloodstream can produce free radicals that can cause cataracts to form. Limiting alcoholic drinks to just one per day can reduce that risk considerably.

Check in often

Perhaps most importantly, routine eye visits help the doctor detect any habits or risk factors leading to cataracts. Cataract symptoms often come on slowly and may not be noticeable by the patient in the early stages. The physician can also use this time to check for other diseases or conditions before complications occur.