Understanding Your Risks during Cataract Awareness Month

With the sun shining brighter and the days growing longer we can never be too prepared to protect our vision. While we are heading to the beach and hosting family barbecues this summer take into consideration your risks for cataracts. To date, there is no medication or eye drops proven to prevent or reverse cataract formation. The only major solution is to undergo cataract surgery to improve affected vision. For many who are unaware, June is Cataract Awareness month and to help prepare you for it, we are sharing some important information and tips to help preserve your eye health.

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in the eye that affects natural vision. The lenses in our eyes focus light on the retina at the back of an eye, where the image is registered. The lens also adjusts the range of focus on things both up close and far away. As our bodies age, the proteins in our eyes start to clump up and form a small cloudy layer on the lens that does not clear up on its own – this is a cataract. Over time, the more you avoid a cataract is the larger the cloud grows and as a result decreases vision in that eye.

Cataracts Risk Factors

Cataracts are more common in aging adults, but it does not mean that young adults are free from this condition. A number of other risk factors for cataracts include:

  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Overexposure to ultraviolet rays
  • Long-term use of steroids
  • Obesity and high blood-pressure

Some other common risk factors that are out of an individual’s control include:

  • Heredity
  • Severe eye injuries
  • Diseases such as diabetes

Reducing Risk of Cataracts

Cataracts are common as a person ages, but that does not mean that they will affect everyone. A number of practices can be done to help reduce your risks, such as wearing proper sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block out summer sunlight. Researchers also indicate that good nutrition can help reduce the risk, as well as exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight.

As per the Vision Problems in the United States report, from Prevent Blindness in America, cataracts affect more than 24 million Americans over the age of 40. The best thing to help maintain healthy eyesight in adults is to attend regular eye exams. People 60 or older can have a comprehensive dilated eye exam once every two years or as recommended by their optometrist.

A firmer or more developed cataract can be difficult to remove, but if caught and diagnosed early you can help maintain the remnant of your eyesight. In certain situations that are discovered early, it is safer to remove the cataract for replenishing vision.