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Are Cataracts Preventable?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 03:31 PM

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When it comes to age-related conditions, few are as prevalent as cataracts.  In fact, by the age of 75, half of Americans will have developed them to some degree.  Depending on their severity, surgical intervention may be necessary to restore vision with as much clarity as possible.  This may include traditional cataract surgery, laser cataract surgery, or the new Baton Rouge dropless cataract surgery in order to replace the eye’s lens.

Given how very common they are, many assume that cataracts are just a normal and unavoidable part of the aging process.  And while studies remain inconclusive on a person’s ability to prevent cataracts, there are definitely some steps you can take to help.


Regular Eye Exams for Cataracts

It should go without saying that the single greatest step anyone can take for their eye health is to monitor it regularly.  Unfortunately, many neglect eye appointments until a problem already exists.  Being proactive in your eye health can help you detect signs of a potential problem before it has an opportunity to fully manifest, including cataracts.


Nutritious Diet for Cataracts

What you eat affects more than just your waistline or major internal organs such as the heart.  It affects every part of your body, including your eyes.  Several studies have shown a correlation between a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and a reduced risk of cataracts.  In particular, links have been shown with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin as well as omega-3s.  You can increase your consumption of these by eating dark, yellow or green leafy vegetables and fish such as salmon.


Sun Exposure and Cataracts

You wouldn’t allow your skin to bake all day in the sun, resulting in a blistering burn.  So, why would you leave your eyes unprotected?  UV rays that harm the skin are also harmful to the eyes.  In fact, Johns Hopkins conducted a 2014 study which highlighted the impact of years of chronic sun exposure on the development of cataracts.  Keep your eyes safe by using sunglasses with UV protection and hats when possible.


Diabetes and Cataracts

The link between diabetes and cataracts is strong.  If you are diabetic, there are many health conditions which you are more susceptible to, with cataracts being among them.  Keeping your condition under control by regulating blood sugar is key to keeping your eyes healthy.


Corticosteroids and Cataracts

While evidence regarding all forms of steroids is inconclusive, we do know that long-term use of oral steroids contributes to the development of cataracts.  If you are on any medication regimen, it is important to fully understand the potential side effects and to only continue with the supervision of your physician. 


While we may not have a silver bullet to protect against cataracts, there are certainly measures we can take.  There are no guarantees, but the points above could very well be deciding factors in your future eye health.

Have additional questions about cataracts or cataract surgery?  Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana and request a consultation with one of our Baton Rouge cataract doctors.

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