A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens. This can lead to impaired vision. Over 22 million U.S. citizens have cataracts and they become more common as we get older. In fact, over half of all U.S. citizens have cataracts by age 80. It is the most prevalent eye disorder. However, there are some ways to help prevent them. These include:
- Getting regular eye exams: Even if your vision is clear, you should make it a priority to have a yearly eye exam. These exams may catch issues long before they start to show physical symptoms.
- Cut back on alcohol: Excessive drinking can lead to cataracts.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking can lead to cataracts.
- Eat a healthy diet: Particularly, make sure to incorporate nutrients such as beta-carotene, selenium, vitamins C and E, and lutein. Also, omega-3 fatty acids may help shield eyes from cataracts.
- Protect your eyes from the sun: Excess sunlight exposure can increase the risk of cataracts. Wear sunglasses with UV protection and wide-brimmed hats when outdoors.
- Keep diabetes under control: Cataracts are a potential complication from uncontrolled diabetes.
Cataracts are not something to take lightly. As they progress, vision will deteriorate. If you are having issues with cataracts, consult with an eye-care professional.