One of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States, cataracts is an ocular condition, quite prevalent among adults over 40 years of age. According to the National Eye Institute, cataracts are also a leading cause of blindness worldwide.
The condition is characterized by the hardening and yellowing of the eye’s typically transparent natural lens and progressive cloudiness of vision. Eye health statistics have revealed that more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by the age of 75.
What Causes Cataracts?
The primary cause of cataracts is aging. Our eyes begin to change normally around the age of 40. The natural lens of the eyes contains proteins which begin breaking down, causing the vision to cloud up. However, most people don’t notice this change until they’re around 60 years old. How cataracts impact your vision largely depends upon where they form on the eye’s lens.
Other than aging, some other factors that can lead to cataracts include:
· Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
· Lack of antioxidants and nutrients such as selenium, vitamin A, C and E.
· Excessive exposure to UV light
· A genetic predisposition to cataracts
· Injury or physical trauma
· Chronic systemic diseases such as diabetes
· Steroid and corticosteroid abuse
How You Can Slow Down the Progression of Cataracts
While cataracts progressively reduce visual acuity, the positive news is that they’re painless. Cataracts that are age-induced develop slowly over a period of many years. While there’s no way to prevent or cure them, the progression can be slowed down if you take the following steps:
Quit Drinking and Smoking
In addition to being potential secondary causes of cataracts, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a myriad of other health conditions, including stroke, heart disease and cancer. Ditching these unhealthy habits can help in slowing down the progression of cataracts.
Watch What You Eat
You are what you eat. A healthy diet rich with antioxidants and vitamins is essential for good eye health. Focus on consuming foods that are rich with selenium and vitamins A, C and E.
Rock Your Shades
As we’ve mentioned above, excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays can accelerate the development of cataracts. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays can help in protecting your eyes from UV damage.
Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Examination Every Year
If you’re 40 years old or more, scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with pupil dilation every year is a must. Having an optometrist conduct regular eye exams will allow your doctor to monitor signs of age-induced eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.
Providing optometry services to all in North Miami, Dr. Gilberg & Associates can help you with whatever vision problem you may have. We also provide care for eye diseases and are connected with some of the best eye doctors in the state in case you require surgery. Whatever you need, you can be sure that we’ve got it covered. Book an appointment online for an contact lenses and eye infections or call 786-500-2020 to talk to a representative.