Can You Prevent Cataracts?

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on April 8, 2021

Older woman on couch

Cataracts are one of the top causes of vision loss blindness in those that are older. The condition often develops due to age and isn’t preventable.

You can make lifestyle choices to reduce your likelihood of developing cataracts, making it easier to diagnose them early. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts and how to handle them! 

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts occur when the proteins in the natural lens of the eye break down. This change usually happens as you reach age 40 and older.

These cells become a milky white color, interrupting the way light enters the eye. Cataracts make it difficult for the eye to focus.

You may not notice early signs of cataracts. Many people have them for months or years without symptoms.

As the condition develops, you’ll likely see halos or rings around lights. Difficulty seeing in low lighting conditions is also common.

You may experience light sensitivity. Some people also see distorted or faded colors. As cataracts become more advanced, you may start experiencing something called double vision.

You can treat early cataracts with glasses and contacts. As they worsen over time, the only way to treat cataracts is by having cataract surgery. Cataract surgery removes your clouded lens and restores clear vision.

During the procedure, a surgeon implants an artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens or IOL. There are many kinds of IOLs available, depending on your lifestyle, budget, and visual needs.

Who is at Risk of Developing Cataracts?

People over the age of 40 are the most likely to have cataracts. Individuals who have had eye surgery or trauma are also more susceptible.

If you have immediate relatives like parents or siblings with cataracts, you are at an increased risk.

Medical conditions like obesity and diabetes can also heighten your chances of developing cataracts. Smokers and people who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol have a greater likelihood of developing cataracts at a younger age.

You have an increased risk of cataracts if you have used steroid medications for a long time.

How Can You Prevent Them?

You cannot prevent cataracts. Regular eye exams can help diagnose the issue so you can treat it and improve your vision.

Talk with your doctor about medications that could contribute to cataracts. Keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent sorbitol from building up on the lens of your eye.

Eat foods high in nutrients like vitamin C and E that contribute to good eye health.

Stop smoking to prevent free radicals from harming your eyes. Wear sunglasses and a hat to limit optical UV ray penetration.

Ask your direct family members if they have cataracts. Share this information with your eye doctor. They can create a screening schedule based on genetic risk.

Your eye doctor will let you know how often you should have eye exams based on your health and medical history. If you have a history of glaucoma or other severe eye conditions in your family, you may need more frequent eye exams.

Are you concerned that you may have cataracts or that you could need cataract surgery? The only way to know for sure is to schedule a cataract screening at Missouri Eye Institute in Springfield, MO, now! Don’t let cataracts run your life any longer!


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