Tips For Preventing And Treating Cataracts
Age, excessive exposure to sunlight and even poor diet choices can all take a toll on eyesight. Since any disruption to vision can significantly impact quality of life, it is essential to provide the very best care for our eyes. Cataracts, the blurring of the eye’s lens, are the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness worldwide. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 25 million Americans - including about half of those over 75 - have cataracts. Here are some tips for identifying, preventing and treating cataracts.
Cataracts generally develop simply as the result of age, but sometimes they can be caused by a prior surgery injury, by medical conditions such as diabetes or by a genetic disorder. When a cataract first starts to develop there is often no initial disruption to vision. However, as the condition progresses, those with cataracts will start to experience cloudy vision (like looking through a fogged-up window) or may notice that colors seem very muted. Due to the degenerative nature of cataracts, it is very important to consult an eye doctor at the onset of any noticeable vision changes. Cataracts can negatively impact daily life in a number of ways. They can make it difficult to read, make it challenging to see facial expressions and can even affect personal care routines.
The severity and location of cataracts varies from person to person. It is not unusual for symptoms to start out as very mild and then rapidly increase as the cataract expands. Consult an eye professional right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Dim, cloudy or blurred vision.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Difficulty driving at night due to reduced vision.
- Seeing “halos” around lights.
- Consistently needing a brighter light for reading.
- Double vision in one eye.
- Noticing colors look faded or muted, or seeing yellow in place of other colors.
Cataract Prevention Tips
There is no proven method to completely stop the progression of cataracts, but research indicates that the following guidelines may significantly slow the progression of this condition.
- Consume a healthy diet. A varied diet filled nutrient-rich foods can help maintain overall eye health. Research suggests that eating foods high in antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, may help prevent or slow the growth of cataracts. Oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and potatoes are antioxidant-rich options.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for cataracts.
- Reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking. Both alcohol and nicotine may contribute to the development and growth of cataracts.
- Wear sunglasses regularly, and choose the right ones. UVB rays can cause eye damage. Select sunglasses that block UVB rays.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat outdoors. Excessive amounts of sunlight can damage eyes and can contribute to the development of cataracts.
- Check your reading glasses prescription. Using an out-of-date prescription can cause eye strain. Ensure prescriptions for all eye wear are up to date.
- Stay current with eye exams. Visiting an eye doctor at least once a year will help ensure that any changes in vision or eye-related issues are diagnosed and treated early on.
- Inquire about corticosteroid medications. Talk with your doctor if you are taking any corticosteroids. These anti-inflammatory medications, often prescribed for asthma, arthritis, colitis and other conditions, can contribute to the development of cataracts if used long-term.
- Address and manage underlying health conditions. Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure may contribute to the growth and severity of cataracts.
Cataract Treatment and General Wellness Care
With an initial cataract diagnosis, most doctors will simply adjust a patient’s glasses or contact lens prescription. However, surgery is generally recommended when a cataract progresses to the point where it is making driving, reading or the activities of daily life difficult. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed and sometimes an artificial lens is implanted in its place. Many patients report clear vision in just a few hours following surgery, but for others this may take a week or two. Some patients temporarily experience red, bloodshot eyes or a scratchy feeling immediately after surgery. Cataract surgery is considered safe and effective, but it is important to talk with your doctor so that you can both decide on the best time and surgical method for your specific case.
At Kyffin Grove, we customize the services we offer - providing the amenities and the care that is needed, when it is needed. We take a holistic approach to care. For procedures like cataract surgery, our residents enjoy complete recovery in a supportive setting that promotes overall wellness. To learn more about our lifestyle and wellness programs, contact us to schedule a virtual tour.