Cataracts happen to be the most common cause of vision loss in aging Americans. Cataract removal also happens to be among the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. While it appears that there is no sure way to avoid cataract development, smart lifestyle changes can help slow progression and help you maintain healthy vision longer.
1. Regular Check-Ups
Number one on this list for a reason, annual vision check-ups should become a priority for anyone over the age of 40. Routine visits will allow your physician to identify early signs of vision-related health problems. Early detection may very well be what saves your sight.
2. Healthy Diet
Research has shown that opacity of the eye’s lens can result from oxidative stress caused by an imbalance of antioxidants and pro-oxidants. This process can be damaging to cells throughout our bodies and when it occurs in our eyes, may lead to the development of cataracts. To help combat this process, eat a healthy diet, rich in antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables containing vitamins A, C, and E or the consumption of fish containing omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to reducing cataract progression.
3. Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is hard on our bodies. It is well understood that nearly every organ can be damaged by continual alcohol intake and that includes our eyes. Although the correlation is not yet clear, studies are showing how heavy consumption of alcohol is contributing to the development of cataracts.
4. Kick the Smoking Habit
The risks posed by cigarette smoking has long been common knowledge but many are surprised to learn of the damaging effects smoking has on their eyes. Studies have shown that smokers are at twice the risk of developing cataracts when compared with non-smokers. (Triple for heavy smokers)
It is believed that smoking alters cells found in the eye’s lens through oxidation and leads to an accumulation of heavy metals such as cadmium in the lens which can damage proteins found in the lens.
5. UV Protection
Studies show the possible connection between Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight and the development of cataracts. It is believed that prolonged UV radiation absorbed by the lens of the eye may cause damage leading to cataract development. It is recommended that sunglasses or a brimmed hat be worn during extended exposure to sunlight.
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Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens of the eye are damaged, which causes them to become cloudy or opaque. While various factors are unavoidable: Age, Family History, Ethnicity, and Gender. Research is showing that we can reduce the risk by changing behaviors and living more healthy lives.
We recommend adults over the age of 40 schedule comprehensive eye examinations in order to keep track of the health of their eyes. Early diagnosis and healthy lifestyles are key to maintaining clear vision.
If you feel these risk factors apply to you and wish to learn more about what you can do, please contact LaserVue online or call 1-800-LASER-45 (1-800-527-3745) for a FREE consultation.