Aging, as natural as it is, is also pretty scary. Your body is continuously changing and you constantly have to learn how to adapt. However, that can be more difficult when the changes that occur affect your eye health.
A growing number of the population fights cataracts on a daily basis. Cataracts is clouding of the lens that lies behind the iris and the pupil. This lens is in charge of focusing light onto the retina, where the brain can register the image. This lens also controls the ability of the eye to focus, allowing us to see clearly. The lens is created of water and protein. And when the protein clumps together, it is cataracts. As more and more of the protein starts clumping together, the lens becomes unable to focus, and the cataracts becomes more and more prevalent.
Symptoms of cataracts vary but include:
– Double/multiple vision
– Poor vision at night
– Halo effect on lights
– Faded colors
– And the most common symptom is cloudy or blurry vision
Of course, these symptoms don’t always solely mean cataracts. If you notice any of these symptoms in your vision, schedule an appointment with your certified optometrist immediately.
Cataracts is typically thought of as an “age-related” disease, but the truth is, you don’t have to be 60 plus to get it. Cataracts also occur in people in their 40s and 50s. In fact, many middle-aged people have cataracts and are just unaware because the symptoms are not prevalent. However, it is at that senior citizen age that cataracts really becomes a threat to sight.
If caught early enough, cataracts can be slowed down with topical drops. If it’s severe, surgery can be performed to replace the eye’s natural lens with an artificial one.
Though there isn’t a pin-pointed cause to cataracts, certain factors, other than aging, do impact your risk of developing this eye disease. Factors such as diet, smoking and alcohol can increase your chances of developing cataracts. Diabetes poses a great risk to your eye health, not just cataracts but many other diseases as well. And of course exposing your eyes to UV rays for a prolonged period of time takes a negative toll.
Unfortunately, because the exact cause of cataracts is unknown, there’s no fool-proof way to prevent it. But you can take measures to decrease your risk of cataracts by taking exceptional care of your eyes. Protect your eyes from harsh sunlight and harmful UV rays by purchasing a good pair of reliable eyeglasses and pairing it with a wide brimmed hat when you’re outdoors. Also, giving up smoking and avoiding being exposed to secondhand smoke and decreasing alcohol intake make you healthier, therefore your eyes healthier. And needless to say, a healthy diet rich with green vegetables, fruit and high in antioxidants can help fight against many, many diseases, including cataracts.
Growing older is a part of life, but the other part is living and enjoying every minute. Don’t let your bad vision hold you back. Schedule an appointment with your doctor of optometry and make sure your eye health is where it needs to be.