No one wants to hear those three, short words: “You have cataracts”. Yet, it is more likely than not that you will hear those three words at some point during your life. You may have heard before that developing cataracts is just as much a part of life as developing wrinkles and age spots. But does it have to be that way?
Can You Prevent Cataracts?
With what we know to be true, i.e. provable facts, cataracts are not altogether preventable. There is no way to prevent or avoid cataracts, at least not that we know of yet. This is largely due to the fact that researchers aren’t exactly in agreement on what causes cataracts in the first place. Sure, we have ideas. But the cause of your cataracts may be different from someone else’s, and there’s no real way to tell. Cataracts don’t happen to everybody, and from what we gather, this may have a lot to do with factors outside of our control.
So, the simple answer to this question is “no”. However, there is some evidence that the way we live our lives and our genetics play a role in cataract development.
Is There Something You Can Do?
Eye doctors and researchers agree that there are certain risk factors that seem to play a part in cataract development. Lifestyles and genetics can definitely make you more likely to develop cataracts, but these factors are not always avoidable.
Here are some things that contribute to cataract development that you can’t do anything about:
- Family history/genetics
- Eye injury
- Other eye disease
Unfortunately, those three unavoidable factors are thought to be the biggest contributors to cataract development. However, even if you do exhibit those risk factors, there are still some lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your likelihood of developing cataracts. These include:
- Quit smoking. Smoking is known to increase your risk of developing cataracts.
- Lose weight. Easier said than done, but obesity contributes to other eye diseases, which make you more likely to develop cataracts.
- Control your diabetes. If you have uncontrolled blood sugar due to diabetes, you are much more likely to develop cataracts. Some people with diabetes even develop early onset cataracts.
- Wear sunglasses. This may sounds silly, but you really should be wearing sunglasses anytime you’re outside during the day. Even on overcast days, UV rays still sneak through the clouds and are just as harmful. UV radiation has been shown to increase your risk of cataracts. Make sure your sunglasses offer 100% UV protection.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but your diet and lifestyle has a lot to do with your overall health. This is no different for your eyes. Studies have shown that a diet rich in vitamin C can be especially beneficial in staving off cataracts.
So, while constant efforts are being made to further understand cataracts and what causes them, there is not currently a set-in-stone prevention method. Essentially, you should live your healthiest life possible. You may still get cataracts, but you reduce your risk as well as the risk for other, more serious disease.
If you are diagnosed with cataracts or suspect that you have cataracts, contact Loden Vision Centers in Nashville, Gallatin and Goodlettsville, TN today! Our expert cataract surgeons are here to walk your through every step of your cataract surgery. Contact our Nashville office for your cataract consultation by calling (615) 859-3937 or schedule your appointment online!