What You Should Know About Cataracts

Photo credit: Damir Bosnjak

While most people are aware of cataracts, the majority of people don’t know much about what a cataract is until they develop them. Here’s all you need to know about what they are, ways to prevent them, and how to treat them.

What Is A Cataract?

Generally, our eyes are made up of protein that is specifically arranged in a way that allows us to clearly see things. As people age, this protein can clump together and cloud a person’s vision. This protein clump is a cataract.

See what it’s like to have a cataract

What Causes Cataracts?

There are a variety of medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can make the onset of cataracts more likely.

Those with diabetes are often warned that they are at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Smokers and overweight people are also more likely to get them.

Exposure to UV light can bring on cataracts. UV rays can damage a person’s eye health so it is very important to wear quality sunglasses on bright days. Sunglasses aren’t just for summer or blue sky days. UV rays can penetrate cloud any time of year.

Unsurprisingly, those with a poor diet, are also more likely to develop cataracts. Eating a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 can reduce your risk of cataracts. Berries and bright coloured vegetables are great for getting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can strengthen eye health. The same can be said for consuming omega-3 rich oily fish.

A common misconception is that cataracts only appear in older adults. Younger adults, and even children can also develop a cataract so it’s important for people to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle from a young age.

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Some people find that their cataracts don’t affect their daily routine, so opt to not treat them. There are also some medicinal and natural treatments available for treating cataracts, but the only proven way to remove them is with surgery. Cataract surgery is covered under B.C.’s provincial health plan however many people chose to have the surgery privately.

Opting for private cataract surgery means you avoid long wait lists, have more flexibility on when you have your surgery and can choose premium implants that will eliminate the need to wear prescription glasses. If you chose to have cataract surgery under the provincial health plan, it is only the cataract that will be treated. If you wear glasses, you will still need to wear glasses after surgery. Many of our customers feel that as they are undergoing eye surgery, they may as well remove the need to wear glasses at the same time.

To find out about the surgical options for those with cataracts, call our Burnaby laser eye surgery clinic to schedule in a free consultation with our eye surgeon, Dr. Boyd.