Most cataracts develop due to the natural aging process or from an eye injury. Inherited genetic disorders, eye health conditions and medications such as long-term use of steroid medications can also lead to cataract development. Cataracts form when protein builds up in the lens keeping light from passing through the eye resulting in cloudy vision. Cataracts can affect the center of the lens (nuclear), the edges of the lens (cortical) or the back of the lens (posterior subcapsular). Cataracts progress gradually as early signs are not even noticeable. Over time, cataract symptoms look like blurred vision, colors seem faded, halos appear around lights, sensitivity to light, difficulty seeing at night, double vision, and frequent changes to prescription eyeglasses.
Although you may delay getting cataracts, there is currently no scientific evidence to support that you can prevent getting cataracts. Most cataracts are age-related with half of Americans over the age of 80 developing cataracts in one or both eyes. When you are young, the lens of the eye is clear. Around the age of 40, proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down and eventually clump together leading to cataract development. Risk factors for cataract development include diabetes, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, radiation treatment on the upper body, frequent sun exposure, high blood pressure, obesity and family history.
While cataracts may seem inevitable due to age, doctors will suggest several strategies to help delay cataracts. In addition to reducing or eliminating the previously described risk factors, especially quitting smoking and alcohol use, you should consume a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach. Foods high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E may help slow the growth of cataracts.
If cataracts develop, new prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses will help you to see better. If cataracts begin to impair your vision and quality of life, cataract removal surgery is quite common and considered a safe and effective procedure.
The best way to prevent getting cataracts or any eye disease is to visit with your eye doctor. During a dilated eye exam, your doctor can check for signs of cataracts or any eye problems in their early stages. Early detection is key to your eye health to ensure clear vision and to begin a treatment plan if necessary.
At Eye Institute of South Jersey, P.C., we help our patients improve and maintain their vision through quality care, the latest technology, and thousands of successfully performed surgeries. If you are concerned about cataract development or any issues impacting your vision, contact our office today. To request a consultation, call at 856-205-1100 or visit WEBSITE.