Cataracts will affect nearly 50% of individuals in their lifetime. It’s perhaps one of the most common eye conditions and can greatly impact your day-to-day life. Blurred vision, fading colors, glares or halos—these are a few symptoms experienced with cataracts. Yet, thankfully, in most cases, they can be prevented or treated with advanced cataracts procedures. However, learning how to stop cataracts doesn’t involve one simple answer—it may require a complete lifestyle change. In order to prevent this cloudy-eyed conundrum, we came up with a few solutions to implement throughout your daily life.
What are Cataracts?
A cataract is an eye condition that’s characterized by blurred or cloudy vision. Everyone has a lens in each of their eyes. These lenses are vital to our eyesight since they refract or bend light rays to help us see. Over time, as we get older, these lenses can become foggy which can greatly impact how we perceive light. Think of it as a pair of dirty binoculars. Compared to a clean pair, objects would appear blurry, distorted, and the colors would look dull. This easily describes the eyesight of someone suffering from cataracts.
What Causes Cataracts?
In most cases, cataract development is caused by the natural aging process. As time progresses, the lens that sits behind the iris becomes less and less flexible and eventually begins to cloud. This is caused by tissues within the lens of the eye that decay and clump together. Eventually, this collection of tissue forms a cataract that can block or distort light passing through. This is what clouds your vision or causes other vision-related issues—even vision loss. This process doesn’t always happen evenly in both eyes. In some cases, a single cataract can form or advance faster than the condition of the other eye. Cataracts are also linked to certain inherited genetic disorders and medical conditions such as diabetes.
What Helps Prevent It?
- Stop Smoking: Among the multiple factors that cause cataracts, smoking is perhaps at the top of the list. Smoking affects nearly every aspect of your body and your eyes are no different. If you’re looking to reduce your chances of getting cataracts or wish to stall their progression, kick the habit to the curb.
- Limit Drinking: Another popular vice that may lead to cataracts is drinking alcohol. Without moderation, it can lead to several health risks, and you can add cataracts to that list. So, if you find yourself hitting up the happy hour on a daily basis, you might want to cut down on the habit and consider the effects it may have on your eyes and body.
- Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly: Not only should you visit your primary care physician frequently, you should schedule regular eye exams with your local eye doctor. Through detailed screening processes, they can detect the early stages of cataracts and provide in-depth solutions on how to prevent them from forming. In addition to these efforts, it’s beneficial to work with your doctors to combat certain medical conditions like diabetes which can contribute to the formation of cataracts.
- Eat Your Fruits & Veggies: It’s not a secret that fruits and veggies are vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They provide essential nutrients, vitamins, as well as antioxidants that help you (and your eyes) stay healthy. In fact, in recent studies, it’s been proven that certain forms antioxidants can prevent cataracts and fortify your eye health. If you want to know how to stop cataracts, you may not need to look further than what’s on your plate.
- Wear Sunglasses: As with most things in life, moderation is key. This includes ultraviolet lights from the sun, which can contribute to the development of cataracts. To help combat this issue, limit the amount of exposure your eyes have to the sun with sunglasses that block ultraviolet B rays (UVB). Also, who doesn’t look cool in a slick pair of shades? Of course, these are only defensive measures. If you begin to experience symptoms associated with cataracts, we recommend visiting an ophthalmologist as soon as possible to evaluate the condition of your eyes. Luckily, there are advanced procedures to restore your vision if you do suffer from cataracts. By utilizing state-of-the-art lens implants, cataracts surgery has helped countless individuals achieve clearer vision.
After receiving a comprehensive eye exam from your ophthalmologist, where they thoroughly evaluate your eyes, you’ll then discuss whether you should or should not receive cataract surgery, as well as note any risk factors involved. If you are clear to proceed, you’ll then receive a refraction exam to discern the range of astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness your eyes have before the surgery is performed. This information is vital to the cataract surgery process and will dictate which lens implant you will require. Cataract lens implants, also known as IOLs, come in a wide range of types based on your specific needs. Through advanced processes, these special lenses are inserted into a small incision under the cornea to replace the old ones. Eye lenses typically rest in what’s called a lens capsule, which is a small hammock-like sac. The lenses affected by cataracts are broken apart and dissolved with a state-of-the-art ultrasound device. The new lens is then inserted into the natural lens capsule and the small incisions self-heal and do not require stitches. After a short recovery period that varies from patient to patient, you should be able to enjoy clearer, undistorted eyesight. Even though this is the baseline procedure, each surgical solution is customized to the unique needs of each patient. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see the world as if you were years younger.