Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens that occurs when some of the proteins of the lens clump together and form a cloudy area. Cataracts normally start out small, and in the early stages may not have any noticeable effects on vision. As a larger portion of the lens becomes cloudy, visual acuity can start to suffer. What was otherwise sharp vision can become cloudy, dull or blurry.
Some of Dr. Sandra Belmont’s patients have inquired as to whether the progression of a cataract can be slowed or stopped altogether. Although there is no irrefutable proof that cataracts can be prevented, here are a few recommendations she suggests to promote optimal eye health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants may help ward off the development of a cataract. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (particularly leafy greens), whole grains and lean protein.
Protect the Eyes from the Sun
Overexposure to ultraviolet light has been linked to the development of cataracts. Many ophthalmologists recommend protecting the eyes from ultraviolet light with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Protecting the eyes from the sun may also reduce the risk of other eye diseases, including macular degeneration and pterygium.
Keep Diabetes and Other Health Problems Under Control
People with diabetes, particularly those with uncontrolled levels of sugar in the blood, are at a higher risk of developing cataracts earlier than normal. Dr. Belmont recommends people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar carefully and manage their health as best possible with the help of a trusted medical team.
Corticosteroids have been linked to the development of cataracts. Avoid using corticosteroid medications or eyedrops unless absolutely necessary (or limit your use of the medication).
See an Eye Doctor Regularly
It is important to have eye exams at any age, but particularly after the age of 40. Although annual eye exams won’t slow down or stop the progression of a cataract, they make it possible for the doctor to identify a cataract in its early stages and monitor it closely over time.
If you have already lost visual clarity to cataracts, it might be time to look into cataract surgery, which is a very routine procedure. Dr. Belmont invites you to book an informational consultation to discuss your surgical options. Contact Belmont Eye Center today to make your appointment.