You cannot totally eliminate the risk of cataracts, because the biggest risk factor is age. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness globally. That being said, there are steps you can take to prevent the onset of cataracts and possibly to slow their progression.
Because of more time in the sun this time of year, spring and summer are good opportunities to remind yourself of the cataract prevention tips below. But please note that these measures should be practiced year-round. Healthy choices made daily will prevent vision problems like cataracts and improve your overall health.
Avoid Direct Eye Exposure to UV Light
Exposure to ultraviolet light is known to be a contributing factor to the onset of cataracts. You can delay their onset by protecting your eyes from the sun and from tanning booths.
Sunglasses: Choose sunglasses that are labeled as offering 100 percent UV protection against UVA and UVB rays. Frames that wrap around the sides of the eye area provide the most comprehensive protection, blocking light that could come in from the sides. Know that polarization does not mean they offer better sun protection, but that the lenses cut glare coming off reflective surfaces like water.
Hats: This accessory is another great way to keep the sun's rays out of your eyes, although a hat should not serve as a replacement for sunglasses. A wide-brim hat provides full coverage.
Year-round protection: Even though we think of the summer as being the time for "fun in the sun," it's important to protect your eyes in all seasons. No matter the temperature or weather, the sun's rays are damaging. Thick cloud cover reduces the intensity of UV rays, but sun protection is still advised for the rays that make it through the clouds.
Headed to the Farmers Market? Choose These Foods
Summertime is full of farmers markets. It's a great season to select farm-fresh produce that is full of eye-healthy antioxidants. There is some research showing vitamins C and E in particular contain antioxidants that may delay the onset and prevent the worsening of cataracts. Choose a variety of produce from week-to-week, including:
- Oranges, grapefruit and other citrus
- Kale, collard greens and other green leafy vegetables
- Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts
- Peaches, apples and berries
- Sunflower seeds and almonds
Additionally, seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids may prevent cataracts and other vision problems. A good first-rate choice is wild-caught salmon.
Protect your vision with:
- An annual eye exam
- Treatment and management of diseases like diabetes
- Eliminating smoking and other tobacco use
- Moderating and limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages
When you visit Dr. Walton for a one-on-one consultation, he'll be able to provide tips for cataract prevention that are customized to your health and lifestyle. If you have cataracts at a treatable stage of development, then laser surgery is an effective, painless way to restore your vision.
Personalized Eye Care in the Gulf Coast Area
Do you have more questions about cataracts? Would you like to find out about screening or cataract treatment at our Mobile, Alabama practice? Please call the ophthalmology office of Dr. Chris Walton, at 251-341-3385, to arrange a consultation. We are happy to answer any questions you have on the phone, and we hope you'll also arrange a visit to our practice to meet our experienced ophthalmologist and eye care staff.