As your eyes get older, proteins in the lens can become damaged, causing it to become opaque and impairing your vision. These are called cataracts, and they are a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans. But contrary to popular belief, cataracts are not inevitable, and their development can be slowed down or prevented in many cases.
How to Slow Down the Development of Cataracts
1. Eat the Right Foods
Nutrition can greatly affect the health of your eyes and your vision over your lifetime. Eating antioxidant-heavy foods may, in fact, help slow or prevent the progression of vision loss. Vitamins C and E can reduce your risk for cataract surgery. Fruits, nuts and seeds, brightly colored vegetables, and dark leafy greens are all great sources of these nutrients.
2. Stop Using Eye Drops
Steroid eye drops, which are used to treat dry eyes or inflammation, can have damaging side effects with regular use. Because the steroid drops produce the same reaction in your body as cortisol, this can actually speed up the development of cataracts. In fact, checking the side effects of many popular medications is recommended because many of them list cataracts as a possible effect.
3. Change Your Lifestyle
There are several lifestyle factors that can bring on cataracts sooner. Smoking is a known causal agent, along with obesity and excessive alcohol consumption. Diabetes is a common cause as well; excess blood sugar can cause cataracts or blurry vision, and diabetes itself is a leading cause of adult blindness. If any of these risk factors apply, make sure to schedule regular check-ins with your eye doctor to catch developing problems early.
4. Protect Your Eyes
Whenever you are out in bright lights, protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. UV rays can easily damage the fragile lenses of your eyes and cause cataracts at an early age. Not only will your eyes thank you, but so will your skin.
If you are experiencing the early signs of cataracts, Northern Lights Eye Care in Anchorage, AK, can help. Having a pediatric optometrist on-site means they can treat all members of the family, no matter how young. They offer quick turnarounds on prescriptions for both contact lenses and eyeglasses, so you can keep your vision strong. Call (907) 276-3937 to schedule an appointment, or visit their website to learn more about their services.