Cataracts

How do cataracts form?
The lenses in our eyes are made of protein and water. As we grow older, the protein may clump together. Eye lenses bring light in and allow our eyes to focus, and these clumps of protein block our lens from a clear view, resulting in hazy vision.

Cataracts are actually able to form in just one eye or both. If both eyes are affected, each eye will not have identical effects.

There is no real known reason why cataracts form; however, there are risk factors.

Risk Factors:

• Smoking
• Diabetes
• Injury to eye tissue due to trauma, previous surgery, or inflammation
• Steroid medication use
• Genetic disorder
• Excessive amounts of alcohol
• High blood pressure
• Radiation exposure
• Excessive sunlight exposure
• Obesity

Symptoms:

• Blurry vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Seeing “halos” or rings around light
• Difficulty with glares
• Fading colors
• Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
• Difficulty seeing at night
• Double vision in one eye

Types of Cataracts

Nuclear cataracts are typically associated with age. One may actually experience an improvement in nearsighted vision, but with time, vision becomes blurry and there may be difficulties in color perception.

Cortical cataracts affect the outside edge of the lens. Lenses may develop white-like streaks and soon begin to obstruct light passing through. Those with cortical cataracts typically experience glare issues.

Posterior subcapsular cataracts form at the back of the lens, directly blocking light. Those who have these cataracts will usually see halos around light and have difficulty seeing in bright light.

Congenital cataracts appear in newborns. This happens for several reasons. The first may be due to the mother having some sort of infection during pregnancy. These infections may include rubella, herpes simplex, influenza, chickenpox, Epstein-Barr virus, and others. The other reason may be that the baby has inherited or developed one of the following: diabetes, some sort of trauma, a drug reaction, metabolic issues, or inflammation.

Precautions

There are few precautions one can take for cataracts. The first is to up the daily dosage of vitamin E. Vitamin E is found in spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, and avocados.

Secondly, eat foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, such as spinach, kale, eggs, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

Finally, eat foods high in vitamin C, like peppers, kiwi, tomatoes, citruses, and berries. Eat omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tilapia, tuna, and walnuts.

Wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses is also helpful.

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