Read on to learn steps you can take to prevent cataracts, which are the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Don't Smoke Cigarettes
If you smoke cigarettes, then it is important to know that smoking makes you more prone to the development of many eye diseases, including cataracts. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts as people who do not smoke.
Smoking cigarettes contribute to cataract development by promoting oxidation of the eye lens and may also lead to a lens-damaging build-up of heavy metals in the lens.
Wear Good Sunglasses
Another way to protect your eyes from cataract formation is to wear a good pair of sunglasses daily. Just as too much sun exposure can damage your skin, it can also damage the lenses of your eyes. When your eye lenses are exposed to the sun's harsh UV rays day after day, it can cause your eye lenses to oxidize, which contributes to cataract formation.
Opt to wear a pair of sunglasses that blocks at least 99 percent of the sun's UVA and UVB rays on most days. Be sure to wear them in the winter as well as in the summer. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you can ask your eye doctor for prescription sunglasses or a special ultraviolet treatment on your clear eyeglass lenses. An ultraviolet treatment is an invisible dye that causes your eyeglass lenses to block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays.
Eat the Right Foods
Eating a healthy diet can help keep every organ in your body in good health, including your eyes. Since it is now believed that cataracts form due to oxidation of the eye lenses, be sure to include plenty of antioxidants in your diet to help prevent cataract development. Just a few of many antioxidant-rich foods and beverages include green tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables, and cinnamon.
A nutritional study also revealed that people who consumed plenty of vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin over a period of 10 years suffered from fewer cataracts than people who did not consume much of these specific nutrients. Good sources of vitamin E include almonds, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Foods and spices that contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin include paprika, basil, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens.
Take Steps to Control Hypertension
If you suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure, then you likely know that it is important to keep it well managed for the sake of your heart health. However, studies have shown that people who suffer from hypertension are more prone to cataract development than people with healthy blood pressure levels.
The reason people with hypertension are more prone to cataract development is currently unclear, but it is important to keep your high blood pressure well controlled to lower your cataract risk.
Keep Your Diabetes Well Controlled
Another disease that can take a toll on your eye health is diabetes. If you suffer from diabetes, then you may know that your disease makes you more prone to the development of diabetic retinopathy, but you may not realize that it also makes you more prone to cataract development if you do not keep it well controlled.
When you do not control your diabetes, excess glucose accumulates in the lenses of their eyes. The eye lenses then convert the glucose to a substance called sorbitol that damages the lenses, causing cataract formation.
If you are already suffering from cataracts, then realize that there are surgical solutions today that can help you get your crystal clear vision back. Contact Beeve Vision Care Center to discuss your cataract surgery options.