We commonly associate cataracts with people who are getting on in age; but did you know that younger individuals are getting cataracts as well? The truth is that while age is the most major factor to someone developing cataracts, they can also be triggered by things like an unhealthy diet or unhealthy habits. As a professional ophthalmologist, I’ve personally seen a large rise in the number of younger patients that come in for cataract surgery over the last couple of years.
Here’s the good news, though. A few simple lifestyle adjustments can be really effective in halting the progression of cataracts. Here are a few simple tips to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear for a long time:
1. Keep away from UV lights
Don’t get me wrong; sun rays are a good source of Vitamin D and we definitely need some exposure to the sun for various skin and health reasons. However, exposing our eyes to ultraviolet (UV) rays will definitely increase the risk of cataract progression. While staying indoors all the time is highly impractical, try to wear a pair of sunglasses or a cap to shield yourself from overexposure to the sun.
2. Quit smoking
Stub that lit cigarette out right away! We all know how harmful cigarettes can be to our lungs, but did you know it adversely affects eye health as well? These adverse effects include a higher risk of cataract progression. If you’re having trouble quitting, there are many useful hotlines that will guide you through the process.
3. Be aware of medicinal side effects
Many prescription and OTC medicines have side effects that might trigger the onset of cataracts. Mildly steroidal medications like nasal sprays, inhalers and the like can contribute to a person developing cataracts, so please consult a doctor before ever administering any form of medication to yourself.
4. Watch your sugar intake
Studies have shown that people who have diabetes tend to be more prone to developing cataracts eventually. Always maintain a healthy blood sugar level and limit consumption of sugary snacks and drinks in order to stave off the risk of developing diabetes.
5. Eat healthy
I mean, why shouldn’t you! Having a healthy diet has a whole plethora of good effects not even related to cataract progression. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods and avoid as much as possible processed foods and sweetened drinks. Healthy foods are rich in nutrients and anti-oxidants and they will help tremendously in maintaining strong eye health. Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also help.