Cataracts are one of the leading causes of visual impairment. Problems with vision can have a significant impact on quality of life, interfering with your ability to carry out regular day-to-day activities.
Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens of your eye are damaged, clouding your visual field. While factors like age, race, and family history are outside of your control, there are steps you can take now to reduce your risk of developing cataracts later. It boils down to maintaining a health-conscious lifestyle and making choices that support optimal health.
At McDonald Eye Care Associates, our experienced team is ready to help you prevent cataracts. Here’s what you can do.
Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Whether you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, managing your blood sugar levels is key to staying healthy. High blood sugar causes significant damage to the blood vessels throughout your body, and this includes damage to the small blood vessels of your eyes.
It’s vital for people with diabetes to get regular eye exams. Having diabetes increases your risk for diabetic eye disease, a set of eye problems that result from chronic elevations in blood sugar. Studies show that roughly 60% of people with diabetes fail to get the recommended eye exams and may suffer preventable eye problems as a result.
High blood sugar can cause cataracts, along with other eye conditions, such as glaucoma and macular edema. Glaucoma is an eye condition characterized by abnormally high pressure inside the eye. Living well with diabetes means taking special care of managing your blood sugar and keeping track of the health of your eyes, kidneys, and feet, among other things.
Stick to a nutritious diet
When it comes to steps you can take now to prevent cataracts later, maintaining a nutrient-dense diet is at the top of the list. Good nutrition is a practical way to prevent cataracts. A number of nutrients are crucial to eye health, including:
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
If you’re eating a varied diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit, you’re sure to get the antioxidants and other vital nutrients that help reduce the risk of cataracts.
Keep your vices in check
Lifestyle choices like smoking and drinking alcohol affect your risk of developing cataracts. Heavy alcohol consumption raises the chances of developing cataracts later, as does cigarette smoking. Both habits increase oxidative stress that harms the lens proteins of your eyes.
People who smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day are three times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers. Avoiding cigarettes and excess alcohol consumption can lower your risk of developing cataracts.
Protect your eyes from the sun
Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted from the sun increase the risk of cataracts, even in our younger patients. That’s why it’s always a good idea to protect your eyes when spending time outdoors. Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection protects your eyes and helps keep cataracts at bay.
Visit your eye doctor
Even if you have healthy vision, scheduling and making your annual eye exam a priority is an important part of keeping your eyes healthy. A comprehensive eye exam can detect problems even before symptoms are apparent.
McDonald Eye Care Associates, a multi-generational family practice, has been providing the highest quality of vision care to residents throughout the greater Lakeville, Minnesota, area for 30 years. Treating patients of all ages, McDonald Eye Care combines old-fashioned personalized attention with the latest technology available. For all your vision needs, schedule an appointment through online booking now or call the office.