Risk Factors for Cataracts: Eye Care Information
Cataracts are easily removed through a routine cataract surgery. While the surgery is successful in the vast majority of patients, prevention is always the best policy. If you can avoid developing cataracts, there’s no need for undergoing surgery.
With this in mind, our Chicago, IL eye care specialists would like to go over some of the most common risk factors for cataracts. We’ll offer some tips for prevention that will help you keep your vision healthy for years to come.
Cataracts become more likely as people get older. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), half of all Americans will have developed cataracts by the age 75. Generally age itself isn’t what causes cataracts, but the gradual exposure to the other risk factors listed below.
Excessive Sun Exposure
The UV rays of the sun can do a lot of harm to your eyes over time, which includes gradually increasing your risk for cataracts. That’s why it’s so important to wear sunglasses and/or a hat with a brim whenever you are outdoors.
Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products
Cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco cause a whole host of problems, including cancer and lung disease. In addition, studies have found that tobacco products can also increase your risk of developing cataracts. Consider this yet another compelling reason to kick the habit.
Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages
In addition to tobacco products, alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of cataracts. This is particularly true for people who drink in excess. With that in mind, be sure to consider moderation when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Avoid binge drinking at all costs.
Previous Eye Injury and Eye Surgery
People who have suffered a previous eye injury or have undergone a previous eye surgery are more likely to develop cataracts later in life. That doesn’t make it certain, but it’s something to keep in mind. To prevent serious eye injuries, be sure to wear goggles and face protection whenever applicable.
Use of Steroids and Corticosteroids
Steroids and corticosteroid medications are linked to cataracts, particularly when these drugs have been used for long periods of time. If you do take these kinds of drugs, discuss the risk of cataracts with your physician and whether or not switching to other medications may be ideal.
Diabetes is linked to a number of health problems outside of blood sugar levels. Vision loss is one such side effect of the condition. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the risks related to diabetes, and so is a risk of cataracts. Be sure to keep your diabetes under control as best as you can.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure is linked to heart disease, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues. Yet hypertension can also lead to cataracts over time. Be sure to eat healthy and exercise regularly to help keep your blood pressure under control.
Obesity is another general health problem that can affect your vision. Since obesity is linked to diabetes and high blood pressure, it’s no surprise you’d experience a higher risk of cataracts if you are obese. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Speak with your general practitioner about steps you can take to lose excessive weight and improve your general health.
Learn More About Cataracts
For more information about cataract treatment and prevention, be sure to contact the vision correction specialists of Wicker Park Eye Center. We are here to help you experience excellent vision for years to come.