Cataracts: What Are They? Learn to SLOW the Progression.

Cataracts

What are cataracts? Learn what you can do to help slow the progression.

We are all born with a clear lens in our eyes.  A clear lens allows light to focus properly on the back of the eye, the retina.  When the lens becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract.  In an eye with a cataract, light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing light properly on the retina.  This can cause foggy or blurred vision and colors to be less vibrant.   Other symptoms of cataracts include light sensitivity, double vision, and poor night vision.  

Aging is the most common cause of cataracts.  Cataracts are a normal change with age that occurs when the proteins in the normally clear lens break down resulting in a clouding of the lens.  Usually people over 60, have some form of clouding of the lens but they may not have symptoms until later in life.  Other causes of cataracts include medical problems such as diabetes, eye injuries, radiation treatments, smoking, and excessive UV sun exposure.  Most age-related cataracts develop gradually over time and can be treated.  The only way to remove a cataract is through cataract surgery.  Cataract surgery should be considered when the cataracts interfere with your daily visual needs or activities.  Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens implant.  

Cataracts can’t always be prevented, but you may be able to help reduce their risk factors and slow their progression.  Here are some helpful tips.    

1) Always remember to eat a nutrient-rich diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Several antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids have been found to lower the chance of developing cataracts.   

2) Protect your eyes from sunlight. Wear sunglasses that block the sun’s harmful UV rays.  You can also wear eyeglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating.  

3) Quit smoking.  Studies have found that smoking doubles the chance of developing cataracts.  

4) Keep your diabetes under control.  Research shows that diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar are more at risk for developing cataracts.  

5) See your eye doctor regularly.  Even if you have good vision, routine visits are essential in the early detection of eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.  Call Chelsea Eye Associates at (212) 257-0007 to schedule your eye check-up.    

 

Chelsea Eye Associates