Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss in America. They hinder your sight and can cause blindness over time. You can have surgery to remove the lens that has been affected by cataracts, but this is an invasive process that requires some amount of time to heal. Prevention is key, and although there is no surefire way to prevent cataracts, these steps can help you keep your risk lower.
Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts. Smokers double their chances of developing cataracts by smoking, and that risk rises as you smoke more.
When you quit smoking, your chance of forming cataracts is reduced.
Shade Your Eyes
The sun can damage your eyes, leading to cataracts. Ultraviolet light from the sun breaks down the eye after causing it to be sunburned. The cells of the cornea can blister due to UV light exposure.
To avoid this damage and lessen your chance of cataracts, wear sunglasses, stay in the shade, and avoid staring into the sun and other bright lights.
Eat the Right Foods
Eating the right foods may not be able to completely prevent cataracts, but it can help your body function and heal correctly. People with diabetes, for instance, are at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Because of this, it's important to make sure that those with diabetes maintain their sugar levels. Of course, those without diabetes should try not to eat too much sugar, either.
Vitamin supplements and antioxidants may also help the eyes; vitamin C, selenium, and beta-carotene are regarded as supplements that may help ward off the development of cataracts in the body. Get these from leafy vegetables and fruit, or purchase a supplement at a local health food store.
Drink Less Alcohol
Another habit that can lead to the development of cataracts is drinking alcohol. According to a study by Boston University, those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day, when you combine drinking with other factors, are at a higher risk of cataracts and needing cataract surgery.
Interestingly, the same study showed that drinking small amounts of alcohol could actually help prevent cataracts better than not drinking at all.
These are just four of the possible ways you could help your body fight off and prevent cataracts. By lowering your risk of cataracts, you may be able to avoid needing advanced cataract surgery until you're much older or prevent needing it all together.