A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that is formed in the eye lens. Cataracts usually occur when the proteins present in the eye clump together, thereby preventing the lens from sending clear images to the retina of the eye. As light is unable to pass clearly through the lens, vision gets affected.
Age-related: Cataract is primarily an age-related disorder. As one grows older, cataracts can form in your eyes. Though people may end up with cataract in both their eyes, cataracts don’t develop in both the eyes at the same time.
Congenital: Congenital cataracts occur when a baby is born with cataract. Congenital cataracts may be a result of infection, injury or poor development of the fetus inside the womb. However, cataracts can also form during childhood.
Secondary: Secondary cataracts occur as a result of certain medical conditions such as diabetes. They can also develop if one is around toxic substances, ultraviolet light, radiation or from medicines such as diuretics and corticosteroids.
Traumatic: As the name suggests, traumatic cataracts can develop after an eye injury.
Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts have been mentioned below:
- Blurred vision
- Trouble seeing at night
- Seeing faded colors
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Halos surrounding lights
- Double vision in the affected eye
- Need for frequent changes in your prescription glasses
Having understood the different types of cataracts, their respective causes and the most common symptoms of cataracts, let us talk about the ways in which you can prevent the development of cataracts in your eyes.
1) Eat Right
What you eat shows on your face, and this holds true for your eyes as well. Include foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, in your diet. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwis, broccoli, strawberries and potatoes are all rich sources of Vitamin C. Sunflower oil, almonds, peanuts, spinach and broccoli are good sources of Vitamin E.
2) Quit Smoking
Apart from wreaking havoc on your skin and on your body, smoking can also have an adverse impact on your eyes. Smoking leads to the creation of more free radicals in your eyes. These free radicals are chemicals that harm your cells and that kill of antioxidants, i.e., the good chemicals, in your body. In addition to creating free radicals, smoking also produces a lot of toxins that can eventually cause cataracts.
3) Wear Sunglasses
Researchers have found that UV light damages the proteins that are present in the lens of your eye. They recommend that you protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that can help block out the harmful UV light. When shopping for sunglasses, look for sunglasses that:
- Block out 99%-100% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Screen out 75%-90% of visible light.
- Go well with the shape of your face, and have a frame that is close to your eyes.
- Have a grey tint, which helps while driving.
4) Keep Blood Sugar in Check
Secondary cataracts can occur due to medical conditions such as diabetes. Diabetics are more likely to develop cataracts than non-diabetic people. If your blood sugar level is too high for a long time, then the lens of your eye can swell. The lens converts blood sugar into sorbitol. When sorbitol gets accumulated in the eye, you see less clearly, as a result of which a cataract can form.
5) Get Regular Eye Exams
Your eye doctor can naturally spot any eye problems early on. It is recommended that if you are between 40 and 64 years of age, you should get a complete eye exam done every 2-4 years. If you are over 65 years of age, get an eye exam done every 1 or 2 years. If you are at a higher risk of getting eye diseases, your eye doctor may want to see you more frequently.
The aforementioned ways can help prevent the development of cataracts. To learn more about this or to gain a better understanding of cataracts, do talk this over with your doctor.
Sources: AAPOS, Healthline, Health24, Inneseyeclinic.com, Pixabay, WebMD.