Can you prevent cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding in the lens of the eye that blurs vision and increases sensitivity to glare from lights. They develop as we age or when an injury to the eye changes the tissue that makes up the eye’s lens. Aging, family history, smoking, high blood pressure, having certain medical conditions like diabetes are some of the biggest risk factors for developing cataracts. There are no studies showing how to prevent or slow the progression of cataracts, but doctors do believe the following tips can help:

Have regular eye exams. Make sure you have a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years depending on your age and risk factors and whether you currently wear glasses or contacts. These exams are important as your eye doctor can diagnose and treat problems in the earliest stages.

Choose a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants like vitamins C and E that can help maintain the health of your eyes.

Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption. Smoking and excessive alcohol use are associated with various health problems. If you smoke, there is a higher risk of developing cataracts. And studies show an increase in cataracts in those who consume more than two drinks per day.

Manage your health problems. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, you have a higher risk for cataracts. Sugar levels that are too high for a long period can cause the lens of the eye to swell and cause damage. It’s important to discuss your medical history with your eye doctor and let him know whenever your medical history has changed.

Protect your eyes from the sun. Ultraviolet light from the sun can damage your eyes and contribute to the development of cataracts. It’s important to wear sunglasses that block UVB rays when you’re outside.

More than half of all Americans have a cataract or have cataract surgery by age 80. It’s important to schedule regular eye exams and see your eye doctor when you have vision changes to stay on top of your eye health. Schedule your next eye exam with Dr. Jeffrey Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser today by calling 808.955.3937.

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