By the time they turn 80, more than half of Americans will either have cataracts or have already chosen surgery to remove them. In other words, this eye condition is widespread. But is it inevitable?
The answer is complicated. To some extent, we have no control over the way cataracts develop. But the vision loss that comes with cataracts is by no means unavoidable.
We’re here to help with precisely that. At our Benjamin Optical offices throughout New York City, our cataract specialists can work with you to create a plan to lower your risk of cataracts. And if you do start to develop them, we can help you proactively manage them so they don’t interfere with your ability to see clearly.
Before we explore your options for preventing this condition, it’s helpful to understand how cataracts form. Let’s start there.
Why do people get cataracts
Regular changes in your eye contribute to cataracts. By the time you reach age 40, the proteins in the lenses of your eyes start to break down. As they do, they gather into clumps. As those clumps build up, they create a cloudiness in the lens: the cataract.
Those protein clumps cause vision issues like:
- Faded colors
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Halos around lights
- Double vision
You might also need a stronger prescription for your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Ultimately, researchers haven’t yet found a way to change that protein breakdown in our eyes. But they have identified some things that might make it happen faster. That means that by taking specific steps, you can help to protect your vision.
Lowering your risk for vision-impacting cataracts
Even if cataracts are inevitable, you can take steps to slow the protein breakdown in the lenses of your eyes.
For starters, protect your eyes from the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays cause oxidative stress in your eyes. This chemical reaction damages the lens, contributing to the development of cataracts. To limit this eye damage, wear sunglasses with UV protection. If you wear eyeglasses, we can also coat them with an anti-UV blocker.
Beyond that, you can also slow the progression of cataracts by:
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of produce
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Protecting your eyes during sports and when using power tools
Finally, getting regular eye exams is one of the best things you can do to ensure cataracts don’t interfere with your vision. At our offices, our Benjamin Optical team can check the health of your eyes. If you have cataracts forming, we can help you make adjustments — like brighter lights or a stronger prescription in your glasses — to see clearly. We can also explore cataract removal surgery with you.
To schedule your eye exam and help yourself see clearly through the years, call any of our offices, or book an appointment online today.