According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are one of the leading eye health issues that can cause blindness, affecting roughly 65.2 million people worldwide. Cataracts are relatively simple to treat surgically in developed countries, but in others, eye care is minimal. The increase in our life expectancy has also uninhibited the growth of cataracts in the human population. What is a cataract exactly? This condition is described as the clouding of the lens in the eye. Vision becomes blurred as the cataract develops and eventually, blindness is the result. Unfortunately, there is no definite route to prevent cataracts, but there are several ways to lower the risk of obtaining it. If you feel your vision is starting to worsen, or if you have trouble being able to see without bright light, you should consult with your doctor and be tested for cataracts.
Risk Factors of Cataracts
Biological aging is the most common cause for cataracts with environmental exposures such as smoke or ultraviolet light. There are other secondary conditions related to other health problems like skin disease, diabetes, and overall health and lifestyle habits. Research also shows that women are at a higher risk for cataracts than men. Experts believe the reason for this is due to menopause, causing a decrease in estrogen that triggers cataracts later in life. Another genetic factor appears to be race. Most people falling suspectable to cataracts after turning 70 are classified as ‘white’ while Hispanics seem to have the lowest rate for cataracts.
Lifestyle Habits and Protection from Cataracts
Although you cannot completely remove the risks of environmental exposure, there are specific measures that you can take to help protect you. The two most common causes include excessive sun exposure and smoking. Ultraviolet light and smoking are known for causing cataracts even in people at a young age. Unfortunately, the overexposure from UV rays can take years or even decades to contribute to cataract development, so many people may not even know there is a problem until the damage has already occurred. To reduce the exposure of UV rays, it is advised to wear the correct protection, for instance, sunglasses with at least 99% protection from UVA and UVB rays or wearing a sunhat with at least 3” wide brim whenever out in the bright sun. Evidence also suggests that having a proper diet may also prevent cataracts from developing. Foods that are high in antioxidants such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and eggs may decrease your risk.
Cataracts can be very devastating if left untreated. The good news is that they take years to develop, which gives you plenty of time to discuss with your doctor which option will be best for your treatment. Cataract surgery is done in two stages; first, they remove the existing lens, and then they replace it with a new lens implant that will allow you to see clearly again and sometimes correct other vision problems. Your doctor can monitor early progression treatment and you may have months or years before surgery is needed. A simple upgrade in your glass’s prescription or the use of brighter lights can help, but ultimately the removal of the cloudy lens through cataract surgery will need to be performed.
Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to suit your lifestyle and visual needs. As a leader in laser vision correction and cataract surgery, our goal is to help you achieve the best vision possible without glasses or contact lenses. More information can be found online at https://michiganlasik.com.