Is There Any Way To Prevent Cataracts?

Is There Any Way To Prevent Cataracts?

May 14th, 2024

Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss, especially among older adults. By age eighty, fifty percent of people have cataracts or have already had surgery to restore their vision.

Getting regular eye exams and protecting your eye health overall can help manage symptoms of cataracts until you’re ready for cataract surgery. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts and if there’s any way to prevent them!

What Are Cataracts? 

A cataract occurs when the natural lens inside of your eye becomes cloudy or discolored. The lens is a clear, flexible disc made of protein. 

It helps focus light onto the retina, which then sends information to your brain to translate into visual images. When the lens gets cloudy or discolored, the light can’t pass through it as well. 

That limits how much light gets to the retina and affects how well you can see. Significant cataracts can cause symptoms such as: 

  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Dimmed or faded colors
  • Double vision

What Causes Cataracts?

Most cataracts are age-related. As you age, the proteins inside of the lens break down and form clumps. 

These protein clumps cause cloudy patches on the lens. Some people have congenital cataracts, which can also happen due to eye injuries. 

Age-related cataracts are incredibly common. Most, if not all, people will develop cataracts during their later years. 

Cataracts typically start developing between the ages of forty and fifty. They often progress very slowly and don’t cause any noticeable symptoms for a long time. 

Can Cataracts Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent cataracts. There are no medications or health modifications you can make to stop the breakdown of proteins in the lens. 

You may be able to reduce the risk of developing premature cataracts by safeguarding your eye health and making lifestyle changes such as:

Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco is linked to an increased risk of cataracts. Quitting smoking can improve your overall health as well as your eye health.

Protect Your Eyes From the Sun

Prolonged UV exposure has been linked to cataracts. You can protect eyes from UV rays by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, hats that shade your eyes, or staying in shady areas when possible.

Use Proper Eye Protection

Eye injuries can cause cataracts or speed up their progression. Wearing appropriate eye protection at work or when playing sports can reduce the risk of injuries.

Choose a Healthy Diet and Exercise

Foods like leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains are good for eye health and may slow the onset of cataracts. Diet and physical activity are also a good way to manage underlying health conditions like diabetes, which may increase cataract risk. 

Get Regular Eye Exams

The only way to diagnose cataracts is with regular eye exams from an eye doctor. Your eye doctor can identify cataracts that are developing and, over time, track their progress. 

Your eye doctor can help you determine if vision changes are due to cataracts and rule out other eye conditions, such as glaucoma, that require immediate treatment. There is no medicine or other treatment for cataracts. 

The only way to reverse the vision changes from cataracts is by getting cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, your eye doctor will remove the clouded lens of the eye and replace it with a clear, artificial lens. 

The new lens can eliminate cataract symptoms and correct refractive errors like farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. Your eye doctor can help you decide when it’s time for cataract surgery. 

Do you think you may be experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, AL, today!