By Andrew Garcia, MD, Ophthalmology, CareMount Medical
June 7, 2021
First of all let’s explain what a cataract actually is. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye that happens naturally with age. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Having cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive (especially at night), or watch TV.
Here are some tips to support your eye health:
- I am often asked if diet can prevent cataracts. While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, one of the most effective ways we can delay their onset and slow their progression is a healthy diet full of antioxidants. Vitamin C-rich foods are an example. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, seed and nuts are all also rich in antioxidants and can reduce cataract progression
- Another priority in maintaining healthy vision is to schedule yearly eye exams. These yearly visits allows me to look for any early signs of cataracts as well as glaucoma and macular degeneration and other eye disorders.
- I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to quit smoking. Research has suggested that smoking DOUBLES your chances of developing cataracts and the risks continue to grow depending on how much you smoke.
- Limiting alcohol use can also help in limiting your chances of developing cataracts. Like cigarettes, excess alcohol consumption can pose a number of health risks, including developing cataracts.
- Try to protect your eyes from the sun because research has shown that years of chronic sunlight exposure increases your risk of cataracts. If you are going to be outside for prolonged periods of time, make sure to wear a hat and use sunglasses with UV protection.
The most effective treatment for cataracts when they are significantly affecting your activities of daily living is surgery. It will be up to myself, and you the patient to determine if cataract surgery is right for you. Generally speaking cataract surgery is safe, but it can still carry certain risks such as bleeding, infection, or even retinal detachment. There may be some discomfort the first few days after surgery, but full healing usually occurs within four to 6 weeks.
If you or someone you love believes their vision is clouded….. schedule an appointment online.