Do You Have a High Risk for the Development of Cataracts?
As we age, there are certain health problems that are unavoidable. Cataracts are a common eye disease that people develop in the later years of life. In fact, cataracts are the top reason for vision loss after the age of 40. Over time, the natural lens of the eye can become clouded, which limits vision.
It is estimated that more than 25 million Americans over the age of 40 are affected by cataracts today. Certain risk factors increase the likelihood that a person will develop cataracts. Becoming familiar with these risk factors might help to decrease the likelihood that you will develop this eye disease.
What are Cataracts?
When a cataract develops, it means that the lens of the eye has become clouded. This eye disease can affect one or both eyes, and it becomes more common with age. It is estimated that over half the population over the age of 80 years old either has a cataract, or they’ve had cataract surgery in the past.
The lens is the part of the eye that is important for focusing on an image that is presented. The light should pass through the lens to reach the retina, which then processes the image that comes in. If the lens is clouded because of a cataract, then the images will be blurred as they come into the eye.
Risk Factors for the Development of Cataracts
Researchers have found that cataracts can impact people from all backgrounds, demographics, and environments. But, trends have shown that there are certain risk factors which increase the likelihood that someone will develop cataracts. Some of these lifestyle habits can be adjusted to reduce your risk of developing this eye disease:
- Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher risk for cataract development. When the blood sugar levels are out of control, then it can have an impact on the eyes and many other parts of the body. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations to manage your blood sugar levels to reduce your risk of eye disease.
- Overexposure to Sunlight: Some researchers have found that prolonged exposure to sunlight might have an impact on the development of cataracts. If you are spending time outside, it is best to wear protective sunglasses and a hat to keep your eyes shielded from the sun.
- Smoking: People who smoke have a higher risk for the development of cataracts. Stop smoking and you will decrease your risk of eye disease. Additionally, you can avoid many other health problems that are associated with smoking.
Keep in mind that these risk factors don’t guarantee that you will develop cataracts. At the same time, it isn’t guaranteed that you can avoid cataracts by managing these risk factors. Researchers are still trying to understand the exact cause of this eye disease.
The best thing that you can do is maintain regular eye exams with an experienced eye doctor. During this appointment, we can identify potential eye diseases in the early stages. Call us today to set up a time to talk with an optometrist in Chicago. Contact Village Eyecare for more information about cataracts and other eye diseases.