Cataracts form when the eye’s lens that, when healthy, is transparent becomes cloudy. The lens, located behind the iris, helps to focus light on the retina so you can see clearly. A cataract will decrease the focusing ability of the eye, which can consequently affect your everyday life and, if not surgically corrected, may lead to blindness.
Symptoms may include:
- Clouded, blurred, dull, or yellow vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Poor night vision
- Vision distortion
- Double vision
The risk for this eye disorder increases dramatically with age. Currently, it is estimated that more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older are affected, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. However, age is not the only cause of cataracts, as several risk factors can contribute to their formation.
Possible risk factors include a family history of cataract, a high body mass index, excessive exposure to sunlight, high blood pressure, chronic diseases, and eye inflammation or injury. A cataract can form in one or both eyes.
Embracing a health-conscious lifestyle is the best thing you can do for your general health and, as a result, your eye health. Physical activity, along with a healthy diet, can help prevent some of the risk factors for cataract formation, such as high blood pressure, chronic diseases, and inflammation. You may also be able to slow the eye disorder’s progression.
Cataract Prevention Tips
Wear Sunglasses: According to Health, selecting shades that offer 100 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays with oversized or wraparound frames is essential for protecting your eyes. Frames offering UV400 protection are an excellent option for eye health. You can find a wide range of stylish frames online and in stores.
Nourish the Body: Fill your plate with yellow and dark-green leafy vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidant-rich foods (e.g., blueberries, nuts, beans). Antioxidants and other nutrients have been found to “prevent or revert changes responsible for cataract pathogenesis” (Kaur, Amandeep, et al.). They are also a boon for your health.
See an Ophthalmologist Annually: Annual eye exams are just as important as physical exams. An eye doctor, like those at Eye Physicians of North Houston, can provide you with a comprehensive dilated eye exam to check for signs of health problems. Your visual acuity, depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested for disease progression.
Exercise Three to Five Days a Week: The American Heart Association (AHA) has long recommended regular sweat sessions to protect against cardiovascular disease. Other potential benefits of exercising include maintaining a healthy weight and preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes, many types of cancer, and perhaps even cataracts.
While more studies are required in this area, a 2014 study published in Ophthalmology showed promising results, as it was found that long-term physical activity that included walking and other forms of cardio may decrease the risk of a cataract. Make it your goal to “move more, with more intensity, and sit less” to see results (AHA).
Surgical Vision Correction for Cataracts
The only treatment option available for this eye disease is cataract surgery. During this procedure, your eye surgeon will make a tiny incision on the anesthetized eye and use suction or aspiration to remove the cloudy lens. The cataractous lens will then be replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (also known as a IOL).
Whether you need to schedule an annual, comprehensive eye exam or you require surgical vision correction to treat cataracts or another eye disease, you can always expect to receive high-quality care at Eye Physicians of North Houston.
Contact us today at (281) 893-1760 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists. We are open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
“Eye Health Statistics.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2014, aao.org/newsroom/eye-health-statistics.
Kaur, Amandeep, et al. “Nutraceuticals in prevention of cataract – An evidence-based approach.” Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology, 18 December 2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5352946/.
“New Physical Activity Guidelines Say Move More, Sit Less.” American Heart Association (AHA), 12 November 2018, sodiumbreakup.heart.org/new_activity_guidelines_say_move_more_sit_less.
“The Best Sunglasses for Healthy Eyes.” Health, 27 April 2016, health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307275,00.html.