Every month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology observes one or more relevant eye health topics to raise awareness. May is Healthy Vision Month. June will be Cataract Awareness Month to educate the public on the leading cause of blindness worldwide. More than 25 million people in the United States alone have cataracts. This number is estimated to double by 2032. Don't wait for this eye disease to rob you of your sight. Here are the top tips to prevent cataracts at any age:
- Visit Your Eye Doctor. Even if your vision is clear and healthy, ensure that you see your eye doctor regularly. If you're 18 to 65 years old who don't have any risk factors, you may visit your doctor once every two years. After 65, these appointments should increase every year. Periodic eye exams allow your doctor to detect signs of cataracts and other eye diseases. Early diagnosis and treatment just may save your eyesight.
- Shield Your Eyes From the Sun. Another way to prevent cataracts is by wearing sunglasses that protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Buy a pair that has a UV400 tag or label on it. It has a special coating that will block 99 to 100 percent UV rays. Look for high-quality, scratch-resistant glasses that preferably have a large frame to cover your eyes from wind, dust, and light coming from all directions.
- Eat Right. Research shows that diabetic patients are at an increased risk of developing cataracts. For this reason, you must maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This is crucial not only for your vision health but also for your overall health. As much as possible, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as they can prevent vision loss as you age. There's virtually no body part that these essential acids can't help, and your eyes are just one of them. Eats lots of leafy greens, such as spinach and broccoli, and other sources like walnuts, berries, orange bell peppers, salmons, soy, tea, and egg.
- Quit Smoking. Cigarette smoke is extremely toxic as it contains as many as 4,000 active compounds. Countless studies have well established how this can negatively impact your lungs and heart. Not as well-known are its adverse effects on vision. Studies reveal its direct link to two of the leading causes of blindness: cataracts and macular degeneration. Researchers also found how cigarette smoking contributes to a host of other eye health issues.
- Drink Moderately. While aging is the most common cause of cataracts, other risk factors can increase your risk for this disease. These include excessive alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking increases alcohol concentration in your blood, inducing microsomal enzyme P450 cytochrome in your liver. Metabolism of this particular element produces free radicals that can lead to proteins in your eye chunking together. This, in turn, can result in the clouding of the lens, then potentially, vision loss.
Have you been experiencing vision changes recently? Maybe you've noticed colors looking faded on top of your blurry or cloudy vision. These are signs that you may have an eye or vision health problem. Call Urban Optics today in College Station, Texas, at 979-690-0888 to schedule your comprehensive eye examination.