How To Keep Cataracts From Progressing? 5 Tips From Dr. Boyd

How do you keep cataracts from getting worse?

Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s lens over time. Some believe that everyone eventually develops cataracts – this is not true. Those that are on the path to developing cataracts can slow their progression, by reducing the lifestyle choices and habits that lead to the formation of cataracts in the first place.

Here are 5 tips to prevent cataracts or keep them from getting worse. They’re not difficult to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle, but they can potentially save you from becoming blind.

1. Avoid Prolonged Exposure To Ultraviolet Light

While it’s true the exposure to the sun can be healthy in small amounts, prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can enhance cataract progression.

We’re not suggesting to stay indoors at all times. It’s fine to go out, so long as you are aware of the dangers of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light,.

During sunny days where you must be outside, try to wear sunglasses. For the same reasons as stated above, reducing the amount of ultraviolet light that reach your eyes will help keep cataracts at bay.

The sun’s rays will pass through thin clouds, so don’t be fooled by a seemingly cloudy day. The peak hours of the day for sun exposure are between 10am and 3pm, or 11am and 4pm during daylight savings time.

2. Avoid Steroid Eye Drops

Steroid eye drops are used to treat dry eyes and arthritic flare-up in the eyes. These steroids mimic the effects of cortisol in the body to reduce inflammation.

While steroid eye drops are useful when used correctly, they can have damaging side effects which include speeding up the progression of cataracts.

For those of you who use steroid eye drops on a regular basis – Have regular eye exams by your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.

3. Check Medicinal Side Effects

Over 300 commonly prescribed medications have side effects that may speed up cataract progression. If you are at risk of cataracts and take medication on a regular basis, ask your doctor if there may be any side effects you need to be aware of.

If you are on necessary medication that may enhance cataract progression, it’s more important than ever to avoid sunlight during peak hours, wear sunglasses or a hat during sunny days and have regular eye exams.

Taking medication to improve one aspect of your life may not be worth it if it leads to cataracts! Consider your options wisely.

4. Consider Cataract Surgery

In the case where cataracts have already set in, or progressed to a point where they hinder various aspects of your life, you should consider having the cataracts removed.

Cataracts can only be removed via cataract surgery, a process in which your eye’s natural cloudy lens are replaced with an artificial lens. Find a surgeon that will discuss and advise you of the options for corrective  lenses that are available and the right option for you.

This process is the most effective way in treating cataracts that have already set in, but may not be suitable for all individuals. Contact our laser eye clinic to find out if cataract surgery is right for you!

5. Live A Healthy Lifestyle

Many studies have suggested that a healthy lifestyle can lead to a lower chance of developing cataracts.

This makes sense – a healthy lifestyle helps to fight against many ailments. But, what exactly constitutes a “healthy lifestyle”?

Here are a few pointers from existing studies:

Diet Guidelines

  • People who follow a diet including colorful fruits, vegetables and whole grains may show a decreased chance of developing cataracts
    • Studies suggest that antioxidant vitamins in these fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cataracts
    • Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body, and is excellent for eye health.
  • The consumption of fish has been linked to a reduced risk of cataracts
    • Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which has been cited to reduce cataract progression.
  • A diet high in carbohydrates may accelerate cataract progression
  • Foods that are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals may delay cataracts

Lifestyle Guidelines

  • Dehydration can hasten the development of cataracts
  • Alcohol may speed up the development of cataracts
  • Smoking will increase the chance of developing cataracts
  • Obesity in general may increase the chances of developing cataracts
  • Those with diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing cataracts

Many individuals past the age of 50 will eventually develop age-related changes in their lenses, categorized as “early cataracts.” It may be difficult to completely prevent cataracts from progressing, but by taking the above guidelines in consideration, we hope you’ll be able to help lead a cataract-free life!

If you feel that cataracts have already set in, the only way to fully revert the damage to your vision is through cataract surgery. At BoydVision, we provide cataract surgeries at the most competitive rate in Vancouver, also offering many other eye vision correction surgeries to meet your unique needs.
Be sure to contact our laser eye clinic if you have any questions about cataracts or their treatment!