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Cataracts are the clouding of what is normally the clear lens of the eyes. Having cataracts can make seeing a struggle. Cataracts develop slowly and will not disturb your eyesight at first. Eventually, as it grows, your eyesight worsens.  




Causes



The majority of cataracts develop when you age, or an injury changes the tissue that makes the eye’s lens. Some genetic disorders that are inherited may lead to health problems, thus increasing the risk of getting cataracts. Medical conditions like diabetes or past eye surgeries can lead to having cataracts. Cataracts can also develop due to the use of steroid medication for a long time.




Symptoms



The signs and symptoms of having cataracts include:
 

  • Double vision in one eye.
     

  • Difficulty seeing at night.
     

  • Dim, blurred, or clouded vision.
     

  • Sensitivity to glare or light.
     

  • Needing brighter light when doing activities such as reading.
     

  • Seeing halos around sources of light.
     

  • Yellowing or fading of colors.
     

  • Frequently changing prescription contact lenses.




How Cataracts Form 



The cloudy lens that is the cataract positions behind the iris. The eye lens grows weaker, thicker, and less transparent as you age. The fibers and proteins within the lens begin to break down due to medical or age-related conditions. All these developments cumulatively cloud the lens.


With time, the cataract grows denser as it continues to develop. It then scatters and eventually blocks the light that passes through the eye’s lens. This prevents sharply defined images from reaching your blocked retina.  


Cataracts cause a difference in vision between both eyes. Over time as they develop, they grow in both eyes but usually at different rates.




Prevention



There is no sure way to prevent cataracts. But doctors think that several lifestyle changes may be helpful, such as:

 

  • Regular Eye Examinations
     

This can help detect whether you have eye problems at an early stage. Consult your optician on how often you should go for eye checkups.

 

  • Quit Smoking
     

Not only can smoking hurt your lungs and heart, but it can also cause damage to your eyes. Smoking is a risk factor you ought to control when it comes to cataracts.

 

  • Limit Your Alcohol Intake
     

Excessive alcohol increases your risk of developing cataracts.

 

  • Manage Your Medical Conditions
     

If you have medical conditions such as diabetes, ensure your blood sugar is kept under control. People with diabetes can have their eye lens swell if the blood sugar is too high.

 

  • Eat Healthily
     

Studies show that a healthy diet filled with minerals and vitamins reduces the risk of developing cataracts.

 

  • Wear Sunglasses
     

Sunglasses not only make you look cool, but they also cut the chances of getting cataracts. Researchers have found that ultraviolet light damages the proteins in the lens of your eyes.




When to See a Doctor 



Make an appointment to see your doctor once you develop a vision change. If you experience sudden headaches, eye pain, vision changes such as light flashes, or seeing double, see your doctor. 




For more on preventing cataracts, visit Advanced Eyecare Center, PC, at our office in Urbandale, Iowa. You can call 515-303-4488​​​​​​​ today to schedule an appointment.

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