Cataracts is the number one eye disease in the United States. There are 24.4 million Americans older than the age of 40 that have cataracts and half of all Americans over the age of 80 have cataracts. With such a high risk of cataracts there are different ways to prevent developing cataracts in the future.
What is Cataracts?
Cataracts occurs when the lens of the eye becomes clouded. As people age the proteins in the lens begin to breakdown causing cloudiness. Cataracts typically develops very slowly and may not obstruct vision early on. Vision with cataracts might be similar to looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. The vision becomes hazy, blurry or less colorful with cataracts.
How Can the Risk of Cataracts Be Decreased?
Cataracts can be avoided, lessened, or slowed down by a handful of lifestyle choices that can help increase your eye health.
Smoking cigarettes severely affects our eye health. Research conveys that smoking doubles the chances of developing cataracts and the risk grows based on the amount smoked.
2.Cut Back on the Alcohol
Enjoy beer, wine, and cocktails in moderation because an excess of alcohol consumption can increase the chance of developing cataracts.
3.Protect Eyes from the Sun
Ultraviolet light can increase the risk of cataracts and cause them to form faster. It is extremely important to protect eyes from UV rays. To reduce exposure consider wearing a wide brim hat and sunglasses with UV protection when spending time outdoors.
4.Make Regular Visits to the Eye Doctor
Yearly eye exams should be a priority even with clear and healthy vision. A routine check-up allows the eye care professional to look for signs of cataracts. Early detection may save your sight.
Can a Healthy Diet Help Decrease the Risk of Cataracts?
Eating a diet rich in beneficial nutrients can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
Higher intakes of Vitamin C have been shown to decrease the risk of cataracts, slowing down its progression and reducing the risk for cataract surgery. The vitamin protects the cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage healthy cells. A good source of vitamin C can come from fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, grapefruit, papaya, cantaloupe, green peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and broccoli.
Vitamin E not only protects against cataracts, but has many other health benefits. These include protecting skin from UV rays, allowing cells to communicate with one another, and protecting from Alzheimer’s disease. Good sources of vitamin come from sunflower seeds, almonds, papaya, and dark leafy greens.
3.Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are the yellow pigments found in plants, which are antioxidant compounds known as xanthophylls. These pigments are found in concentrated levels in the lenses of our eyes. These compounds may prevent cataracts and reduce the need for cataract surgery. Green leafy plants hold the highest sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, such as kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens. Other sources of these antioxidants are in green peas, corn, broccoli, romaine lettuce, carrots, green beans, and eggs.
Salmon is rich in astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives salmon its reddish color. Astaxanthin protects the eyes from free-radical damage and hinders the formation of cataracts. Salmon has a high supply of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been linked to reducing the risk of cataracts and its progression. Eating salmon three times a week can reduce the risk of cataracts by 11 percent.
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which are the chemicals that give them their dark purple color. Anthocyanins fight against inflammation and keep the arteries and vessels that feed the eyes from narrowing.
Avocados have an array of important nutrients for healthy eyesight, such as carotenoids, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. All of these are great allies in preventing cataracts. Also, avocados contain more carotenoid lutein than any other fruit, protecting against cataracts.
In conclusion, these steps can help protect your vision and prevent cataracts naturally. Healthy habits and food provide wonderful natural remedies for cataracts. Giving the eyes good care and attention now rather than later will help the eyes stay clear and sharp into the later years.