June is Cataract Awareness Month

Did you know, more than 24 million Americans over age 40 are currently living with cataracts? It’s one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States and the primary cause of blindness in the world. That’s why June is Cataract Awareness Month—a time to educate, raise awareness, and drive people to seek treatment for this all-too-common condition.

A cataract is not a disease but an aging process similar to graying hair. As the eye ages, the normal lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The lens focuses light rays on the retina at the back of the eye to produce a sharp image of what we see. When the lens becomes cloudy, the light rays cannot pass easily through it, and the image becomes blurry. It can be compared to a window that is frosted or “fogged” with steam.

Prevention

Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and genetic factors may all increase risk of cataracts. In addition, eye injuries, prior eye surgery, and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these or other risk factors, talk to an ophthalmologist.Cataracts Patient Child Congo DRC
You can lower your risk.

Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Avoid smoking cigarettes, which increase the risk of cataract development.

Foods Rich in antioxidants include:

Small red beans
Blueberries
Pecans
Red berries like cranberries, strawberries and raspberries
Prunes
Apples - Red delicious, Granny Smith and Gala
Artichokes
Dark green veggies like kale and broccoli

Your doctor of optometry will discuss your visual demands with you and perform other tests to determine the specific style of lenses that will allow you to see clearly.

Author
Karine B

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