Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Here are 6 things you need to know.
1. You're more than likely develop a cataract!
Cataracts are part of the natural aging process so if you live long enough, you will likely eventually develop one.
2. A cataract is a clouding of the usually transparent lens in your eye.
The lens in your eye focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye, allowing you to see. When your lens starts to clouds up, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window. If the window is not clear, you can’t see!
3. Age is not the only risk factor for cataract development.
While the risk of developing a cataract does increase as you age, it is not the only factor. Other risk factors include diseases such as diabetes, lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption or smoking as well as prolonged exposure to the sun.
4. Your treatment options are not limited to surgery.
If cataracts are detected in the early stages of development, non-surgical options including medicated eye drops, stronger glasses or even better lighting go a long way to help alleviate the condition’s detrimental impact on your vision.
5. Cataracts have warning signs
Cataracts don’t suddenly develop overnight. If you notice you have cloudy vision or see halos around lights, have trouble with night vision or see double in one eye, make a visit to your eye doctor a priority to check it out.
6. What you eat can reduce your risks.
While making healthy food choices plays a vital role in your overall health, it can also play a very specific role in reducing your risk of cataract development. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased intake of vitamin C or the combined intake of multiple antioxidants significantly reduced the risk of cataracts in older adults.
Don’t let cataracts interfere with your quality of life. Be sure to schedule regular eye exams so that you stay on top of your overall eye health.