A cataract on your eye doesn’t mean that you have contracted some kind of disease or other, nor does it mean that you have developed some kind of cancerous growth.
Cataracts are normal, and you can do something about them.
Saying that “cataracts are normal” really means that they occur as part of the ageing process in us all – if you don’t want them in your life, then don’t grow old! Another way to look at it is: “make sure you get cataracts otherwise you haven’t lived long enough!”
And of course we all know that there are ways to prevent or at least slow down the ageing process, (but unfortunately the ways often contradict the lifestyle that we lead).
What are Cataracts Exactly?
A cataract is simply a formation of a cloudy area in the lens of the eye, an area that prevents light from passing through it from the outside world to strike the retina and enable us to see. The lens of the eye needs to be crystal clear to able to do its job properly, and the cloudy areas, often called “opacities” (from the word opaque meaning not very transparent) can become progressively darker and impenetrable to any light. In the long term, without intervention, cataracts can cause blindness. Luckily in Australia cataract surgery is a very simple and effective procedure. Sadly though, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in third-world countries that do not have reasonable medical systems.
How do You Know You’ve got a Cataract?
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of cataract, but there are some general signs:
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Blurry or dull vision
- Needing to change the strength of your prescription glasses more often
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight or the glare from approaching car headlights
- A halo effect might be seen around lights
Just make sure that with ANY of these symptoms you consult your Optometrist.
Treatment of cataracts
When symptoms first appear treatment needed might only consist of being prescribed stronger glasses and following instructions on making use of good lighting.
Cataract surgery is always available, but isn’t always necessary for several years, and the good news is that it may never be required. On the other hand non-detection of cataracts may lead to a serious deterioration and blindness. A simple eye examination by an optometrist will reveal cataracts.
Cataract surgery is nowadays quite common, and is extremely successful, so it should be approached with a positive outlook.
How to Prevent Cataracts
The advice in regard to what to do to prevent cataracts from happening could form the basis of any good lifestyle book! Following the ideas and principles might not entirely prevent cataracts from forming altogether of course, but their onset may be delayed, and their progression slowed.
High blood pressure and obesity are the usual culprits, as are smoking and too much alcohol and stress. Sound familiar?
Then there’s what you eat – make sure your diet contains plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of fish. Stay away from fatty foods. Sound familiar?
Your body will age better if you are fit (but you don’t have to run a marathon or anything), just stay in good shape. Sound familiar?
Summarising the regime you need to slow down cataracts (and to stay young):