Cataracts are a degenerative eye disease in which the eye’s lens gradually becomes opaque, causing vision to mist over. This happens because the proteins in the lens clump together and eventually form a cataract, which clouds vision. The most common cause of cataracts is age, and they have become one of the leading causes of blindness among adults ages 40 and over in the United States. Some secondary factors that could predispose you to cataracts are:
- family history
- chronic disease such as diabetes
- excessive use of steroid medications
- and too much UV light exposure
In addition to experiencing “misty” vision, some other symptoms of cataracts include:
- excess glare
- sensitivity to light
- trouble seeing at night
- and frequent changes of prescription
The best way to guard against cataracts and most other eye conditions is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating food rich in antioxidants is often helpful because antioxidants help to cleanse harmful toxins from the body – including the eyes. Berries, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, soybeans and apricots are just a few antioxidant-rich foods worth trying.
Unfortunately, there is no way to “eat or exercise away” cataracts. A healthy lifestyle is a smart preventative measure against cataracts, but it won’t reverse their effects.
Although there is no substitute for a healthy diet, vitamin supplements might help you in your individual fight against eye disease. Speak with your eye doctor to see which vitamins may be right for you.
Surgery is the most common and effective way to treat cataracts when a prescription doesn’t help. Cataract surgery is safe, highly successful, and the most common outpatient surgery performed in the United States. The surgeon will remove your clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL) to best address your individual vision needs. This outpatient procedure generally takes about 15 minutes.
Recovery time from cataract surgery is usually very short. Some people report clearer vision within 30 minutes of the procedure, but improvement might take weeks for others. Speak with your eye doctor for more details about what to expect before, during and after cataract surgery.