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Insurance Article

How to Prevent Cataract at Any Age

June 02 2017
Cataract

Cataract is a vision disorder that can lead to blindness. Read on to know more about its prevention.

According to a WHO report, cataracts are responsible for 51% of world blindness. It is also the main cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40, which makes preventing cataract essential. Before taking precautionary measures, it’s important to understand what cataract is and what are its effects.

What Is Cataract?

Cataract is clouding of the eye lens, which results in blurred vision. It occurs due to accumulation of protein on the lens surface, which blocks light to reach the retina. This results in reduced visual acuity and blurred vision, which makes things appear as if looking through a foggy window. Symptoms of cataract include blurred vision, frequent change in eyeglass prescription, increased sensitivity to light, seeing halos around bright lights, or double vision.

Risk Factors for Developing Cataract

Several risk factors contribute to the development of cataract, age being the most common one. The risk factors include:

  • Age: There is a greater risk of developing cataract as you grow older. This is because of exposure to environmental factors such as UV light, smoke, and other health disorders that lead to cataract.

  • Gender: Women have a higher chance of getting cataracts than men. Studies have linked this to menopause, which causes decrease in oestrogen levels leading to the development of cataracts.

  • Health conditions: Health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are also known to increase the risk of cataracts.

  • Environmental conditions: Exposure to UV rays and smoke directly affect vision and make one more susceptible to developing cataracts.

Cataract Prevention Methods

While there are debates on whether cataract can be prevented, research shows that there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of getting cataract. Here are some ways that can reduce your chances of getting cataract:

  • Lifestyle habits: Excessive smoking and alcohol consumption severely affect your eye health. Both these habits increase the chances of developing cataract. Reducing or quitting them is advisable for reducing the risk of cataract and an overall improvement in your health.

  • Diet: Ensure inclusion of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote eye health in your diet. Dark green leafy vegetable such as spinach, kale, turnip, etc. improve eye health. Besides this, sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as fresh water fish and flaxseed further reduce the risk.

  • Steroid medication: Usage of steroid medicine is said to increase the chances of developing cataracts. Know the risk factors or consult your eye doctor before starting new medication. It is better to avoid them unless specified by an ophthalmologist.

  • Protect your eyes: Exposure to UV rays hastens the development of cataract, even in younger patients. Always shield your eyes from UV rays, either with a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses with UV protection while outdoors.

  • Diabetes: Studies show that diabetics are more prone to developing a cataract. It’s necessary for these patients to maintain their blood sugar to prevent cataracts. Take proper medication to keep a tab on your diabetes.

  • Regular check-ups: Schedule regular eye exams, especially as you grow older. Your eye doctor can detect cataract and other vision disorders when you cannot. With early detection, your doctor can prescribe the best treatment for you.

Cataract, if not detected, can lead to loss of vision. While factors such as age and gender play a role in increasing the risk of developing cataract, one must always take preventive measures to maintain good eye health. Moreover, it is advisable to opt for the best health insurance for your needs, which can provide you with the financial assistance you need in the future for cataract treatment.

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