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Is It Possible to Prevent Cataracts?

Is It Possible to Prevent Cataracts?

Cataracts affect nearly 25 million Americans and half of all adults over age 75. Characterized by the clouding of the eye's natural lens, cataracts cause blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night, and overall visual impairment. 

While cataract surgery can be highly effective, you might wonder if it's possible to prevent cataracts from developing in the first place. 

That’s the question our experts at Maryland Eye Care Center tackle here. Read on as we explore cataract prevention and discuss evidence-based strategies to help maintain eye health.

Understanding cataracts

Cataracts result from proteins in the lens of your eye clumping together to cause a clouding effect that obstructs vision. Age is a primary risk factor for cataracts, but other factors can contribute, such as genetics, diabetes, smoking, and excessive UV exposure.

Lifestyle choices for eye health

While cataracts may not be completely preventable 一 after all, age is a risk factor that’s out of your control 一 lifestyle choices can help you maintain good eye health and potentially delay the onset or progression of cataracts. These include:

Balanced diet

A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals may have a protective effect on eye health. Consuming foods such as leafy greens, fruits, and fish high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin can contribute to healthy eyes.

UV protection

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can accelerate cataract formation. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat outdoors can help shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Smoking cessation

Smoking is linked to an increased risk of cataracts. Quitting smoking or avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke can significantly benefit your overall health as well as your eye health. The Maryland Department of Health offers free cessation programs if you need help quitting.

Regular eye exams

Routine eye examinations can detect early signs of cataracts and other eye conditions. Regular visits to Maryland Eye Care Center allow us to monitor your eye health and catch issues in the earliest stages.

Disease management

Systemic health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, can contribute to cataract development. By managing these conditions effectively through medication, lifestyle modifications, and regular medical checkups, you can help reduce your risk of cataracts.

Is it possible to prevent cataracts?

It’s not possible to completely prevent cataracts, but adopting a healthy lifestyle, protecting your eyes from UV radiation, and managing health conditions can contribute to maintaining eye health and potentially delay the onset or progression of cataracts. 

Surgical intervention

Cataract surgery remains the most effective treatment for advanced cataracts. If cataracts significantly impair your vision and impact your daily activities, our team may recommend cataract surgery. 

Cataract surgery is a quick procedure (less than 30 minutes) during which your Maryland Care Center provider removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens to restore vision. To remove the lens, they make a small incision and use ultrasound to break it up.

If you’re concerned about cataracts and want to learn more about prevention or treatment, call one of our locations in Hyattsville or Silver Spring, Maryland, or book your consultation online today.

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