According to the National Institutes of Health, cataract surgery is one of the most common, most effective and safest surgeries in the United States. Cataracts affect more than 50 percent of people in the U.S. by the time they reach the age of 80. Signs of cataracts include blurry vision, light seeming too bright, poor night vision, double vision and colors looking duller. Glasses may help make your vision a bit better for a while, but eventually surgery may be necessary to restore your vision. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to limit your risk for this common condition.
Make Healthy Dietary Changes
One theory on the cause of cataracts is that oxidative stress is responsible for the damage that makes the lens of the eye cloudy. Thus, getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet may help limit your cataract risk. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are a good source of the nutrients most likely to help with this, including lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A. Aim to get between five and nine servings a day, as well as two servings of fish per week and three or more servings of 100 percent whole grains per day. Limit refined grains and sugars, as too high of a carbohydrate intake may increase cataract risk. Limiting the sodium and fatty junk food in your diet may also be helpful.
Give Up Unhealthy Habits
Limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. While there is no specific recommendation for alcohol intake and cataract prevention, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink per day for women or no more than two drinks per day for men. Drinking no more than this will help limit the risk for some health problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
Too much exposure to ultraviolet light may increase cataract risk, so wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses to help limit the amount of UV light that reaches your eyes. Look for sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB light, or those labeled "broad spectrum."
Control Other Health Issues
Keeping yourself at a healthy weight and doing what you can to limit your risk for high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol can also affect your risk for cataracts. These conditions and the medications used to treat them may be associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts.
If you think you are developing cataracts, speak to an optometrist or contact an eye center, like California Eye Specialists Medical Group Inc.