Ways to Prevent Cataracts

Cataract prevention is an evolving study. No definitive prevention process has developed, but several recommendations for holding back the eye disease have emerged. The reason for the lack of a firm preventive measure is related to the fact that the exact causes of cataracts are still unknown.

It has been determined that there are four types of cataracts:

1. Nuclear cataracts. These cataracts are found in one or both eyes and affect the center vision. They cause nearsightedness, multiple visions, and problems determining colors.

2. Cortical cataracts. This type forms on the other edges of the eye and work their way inward. They prevent the passage of light and create problems with glare.

3. Posterior subcapsular cataracts. These cataracts start small in the back of the lens. They cause problems reading, glare, and eye function in bright light.

4. Congenital cataracts. These are formed prior to birth or develop in young children. Sometimes they are caused by inherited syndromes. They do not always cause vision problems.

The two things in common with all types of cataracts are that a film is formed over the eye, and they can develop in one eye or both eyes. Once the cataracts have fully developed there is no better treatment but cataract surgery. However, cataracts can be prevented and treated in the early stages. Many studies have been conducted and none have been conclusive in totally preventing cataracts; still, sound measures have been shown to delay the onset of cataracts or prevent them from becoming worse. The following list of four practices have proven to delay or prevent worsening of cataracts:

• Keep your eyes from being exposed to direct sunlight. This is particularly true for residents in the southwestern United States where sunlight is at its harshest. Wear sunglasses with larger lenses, or wrap around lenses. A wide brimmed hat will also help escape sunlight exposure. Don’t give up the sun entirely because it is your best source of Vitamin D.

• Quit smoking. Smoking is known to affect your vascular system which also feed your eyes. In addition, the smoke around and in your eyes may possibly cause the formations of cataracts.

• Blood sugar control. If you are a diabetic it is critical to keep your blood sugars under control to avoid the formation of cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which also affects vision.

• Proper diet and nutrition. Free radicals exist in every body. If you have a less than healthy diet, there are even more free radicals present. A healthy diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables provide the nutrients needed to fight free radicals. The most important vitamins and phytochemicals that have been shown to prevent or improve eye health include Vitamin A, C, and E, lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating a diet rich in fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, has also been indicated in studies to be an important diet factor in prevention or delay of cataract formation.

Cataracts are slow growing and when it comes to cataracts vision impairment happens so slowly that it is not always detected by the patient until it has reached the point that they must be removed surgically, so best prevention is having your eyes examined on a yearly basis.

Dunya Carter is a health writer from Brisbane, Australia. She writes articles that raise awareness about eye health and different treatments that are available, such as cataract surgery. She is currently writing health-related articles for several websites and blogs.