How to prevent cataracts?

Rohan Mathew

Cataracts are cloudy build-ups in the lens of the eye that impair vision. For people with cataracts, it is like looking through fog. As per the statistics of Prevent Blindness America, the worldwide load of cataract are even more than diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma combined. Cataracts develop slowly and may not disturb the vision early on. However, if regular eye examinations are performed by the eye doctor or Best Eye specialist in Lahore then early treatment can be started.

What are the causes of cataract?

Cataracts are build-up of folded protein. They form as a normal process of ageing or inherited genetic disorders. Injury to the eye lens also changes the composition of the tissues and cause cataract formation. Chronic diseases like diabetes, especially with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, speed up the formation of cataract. Exposure to UV radiation, past history of eye surgery and steroid medication all are risk factors for cataract formation.

How to prevent cataract formation?

Lifestyle changes and certain precautions can lower the chances of cataract formation but there is no certain way to prevent them. Read on to know more about prevention of cataract formation:

Eating right by including foods rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and C are helpful. They prevent the buildup of lens protein, and in case they are already formed, they slow their progression.

Sources of vitamin C rich foods are: citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels, tomatoes, kiwifruit, strawberries, potatoes, cantaloupe and green peppers.

Sources of vitamin E rich foods are: wheat germ oil, safflower oil, nuts, sunflower oil, green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.

Smoking cessation is a must for improved health of the eyes. Cigarette smoke creates more free radicals in the eyes and produce toxins that end up creating an environment for cataract formation. Smoking doubles the odds of developing cataracts and this risk is higher for both first and second hand smokers. Cessation of smoking can help in prevention of cataract.

Wearing sunglasses block the penetration of UVA and UVB radiation. UV radiation is associated with damage to the lens protein, speeding up the process of cataract. A 2014 study from researchers at Johns Hopkins found that chronic exposure to the rays of the sun increase the formation of cataracts. Shades stop the permeation of these damaging radiation as well as visible light. Make sure to shop for sunglasses that stop both UVA and UVB radiation.

Avoid the use of steroid medication for extended period of time. As mentioned before, extended use of steroid medication is associated with cataract formation. Discuss the risks of medication with your healthcare provider before starting them.

Get the blood sugar in control. For diabetics, especially with uncontrolled blood sugar, the latter builds up in the lens and convert to sorbitol. Sorbitol cannot be metabolized into simpler compounds and builds up in the eye. This buildup causes difficulty in vision and speeds up cataract formation, along with swelling of the lens. Keeping the diabetes under control is, therefore, very important along with getting regular eye examinations.

Regular eye checkups are important not only for diabetics but also for people between ages 40 and 65. For this age group, complete eye exams should be performed every 2 to 4 years, and for ages 65 above, every 1 to 2 years. Eye checkups help to spot early cataract formation, so measures can be taken by the healthcare provider or Best Eye specialist in Karachi to slow it down