What Are Cataracts?
Healthy eyes properly focus on objects thanks to their crystalline lens. After the age of 50, many people experience protein buildup, which gradually causes the lens to become opaque, which leads to cataracts. The resulting fogginess and blurriness reduce vision since the cataract scatters light, causing less light to reach the retina. Unless the cataract is surgically removed and replaced with a clear lens, blindness can ensue.
Cataracts can develop due to aging, genetics, diabetes, head trauma, eye injuries, even excessive smoking, and drinking.
The most common signs of cataracts are:
- Sensitivity to strong light
- Diminished nighttime vision, especially while driving
- Frequently needing to update your eyeglass prescription
- Faded colors
- Seeing duplicate images
- Seeing halos around lit objects
Keeping Cataracts at Bay
According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute, by 2050, 50 million Americans will have cataracts. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce or delay the prospect of falling into that demographic.
Eat a diet rich in certain antioxidants and nutrients:
Lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, and zinc decrease the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases.
Foods containing these nutrients include green leafy vegetables; eggs; salmon; cantaloupes, corn, carrots and peppers; apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, and tomatoes; hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts; sunflower seeds; oils: soybean, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and wheat germ; and vitamin-fortified cereals.
In addition to improved nutrition, the following preventative steps can help keep cataracts at bay:
- Avoid processed, fried, and junk foods.
- Quit/avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Wear protective eyewear and wide-brimmed hats to reduce exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays
- Keep diabetes under control by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
- Monitor your blood pressure.
- Visit Dr. Chirag R. Patel routinely for eye exams. Early detection may save your sight!
If you've sustained eye injuries, had eye surgery, or been prescribed steroids for prolonged periods, make sure to let Dr. Chirag R. Patel know, as these can all cause cataracts.
Make an appointment with Dr. Chirag R. Patel to assess and reduce your risk of cataracts. If cataracts are affecting your vision, speak with Dr. Chirag R. Patel to discuss surgical options for their removal.
Ophthalmology Center at Turner Eye Institute assists patients in San Leandro, Concord, Castro Valley, Alameda, and throughout California.