Cataract Prevention and Treatment | VISION EASE Blog (2024)

When it comes to vision problems, eye care professionals know about cataracts. But how much do your patients know about this common eye condition? Cover these basics when answering questions about cataract-related vision problems and prevention.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, which is located directly behind the iris and pupil. Along with the clear front surface of the eye (cornea), the lens is responsible for focusing light onto the retina to achieve clear vision.Cataract Prevention and Treatment | VISION EASE Blog (1)

How Common Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are common. In fact, they are the leading cause of treatable blindness worldwide, and the second leading cause of vision impairment (behind uncorrected refractive errors — nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism).According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are responsible for 51 percent of blindness worldwide. This means about 20 million people are blind from cataracts.More over, The National Eye Institute (NEI), estimates that 24.4 million Americans had cataracts in 2010. This number is expected to grow to 38.7 million in 2030 and to 50.2 million in 2050, as the U.S. population continues to age.

Look For These Symptoms

Symptoms of cataracts include hazy or blurry vision, poor vision in low-lightconditions, and glare. Cataracts also cause colors to appear faded and may cause “ghost” images or double vision in one or both eyes. Typically these symptoms gradually get worse over months or years, but in some cases they can occur and worsen within weeks. While cataracts do not cause eye pain (other than discomfort from glare), they may require frequent changes to a patient’s eyeglasses or contact lens prescription.

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What causes cataracts?

Aging is the primary risk factor for cataracts. According to NEI data, cataracts affect 5.2 percent of Americans ages 50 to 54. This percentage increases steadily with age. In fact, more than 68 percent of Americans age 80 and older have cataracts. Other risk factors for cataracts include smoking, obesity, diabetes and a high lifetime exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Long-term use of certain medications (e.g., corticosteroids) also can increase cataract risk.

How Can I Decrease My Risk?

The best ways to decrease the risk of cataracts is to maintain an active lifestyle, exercise frequently, watch your weight and avoid (or quit) smoking. Also, because long-term exposure to UV and high-energy visible (HEV) rays from sunlight has been implicated as a risk factor for cataracts and other eye health problems, wearing quality sunglasses that block these harmful rays whenever you are outdoors is highly recommended. This habit should begin in early childhood for the greatest protective effect.

How are Cataracts Treated?

The only proven treatment for cataracts is eye surgery. Modern cataract surgery is safe and effective and performed on an outpatient basis. This means patient’s have the procedure done, and return home the same day. The surgery itself usually takes less than 20 minutes and most people experience a significant improvement in their vision within 24 hours. More than 3 million cataract surgeries are performed annually in the United States. The majority of these procedures produce excellent visual outcomes.

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What To Expect After Cataract Surgery

Most intraocular lenses (IOLs) used in cataract surgery to replace the eye’s cloudy lens block 100 percent UV. However, this doesn’t mean patients should skip the protective sunglasses when outdoors. Because more light reaches the retina once a cataract is removed, patients may be more susceptible to being bothered by glare and bright light in certain conditions. UV- and HEV blocking sunglassesare essential for protecting the front surface of the eye and the delicate skin around the eyes from sun damage, including skin cancer.

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Cataract Prevention and Treatment | VISION EASE Blog (2024)

FAQs

What three vitamins keep cataracts from getting worse? ›

Lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene offer the promise of protection because they are antioxidants. It is quite possible, however, that lutein is more important than beta-carotene, because lutein is found in the lens of the eye, while beta-carotene is not.

What makes cataracts suddenly worse? ›

Prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can enhance cataract progression. During sunny days when you must be outside, try to wear sunglasses. For the same reasons as stated above, reducing the amount of ultraviolet light that reaches your eyes will help keep cataracts at bay.

What is the new treatment for cataracts? ›

Excitingly, 25-hydroxycholesterol, lanosterol, and lanosterol derivatives have now been discovered and may reverse lens opacity, creating a new way to prevent and cure cataracts.

What is the best prevention for cataract? ›

Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block the sun. Protect your eyes from injury. While doing activities like using power tools or playing certain sports, wear protective eyewear to protect your eyes from getting accidentally injured. Quit smoking.

What foods should you avoid with cataracts? ›

At its core, this includes the basics like exercising, eating enough fruits and vegetables, and making smart decisions about your health. You should also do your best to avoid soft drinks, processed foods, fried foods, and sugary snacks.

Which fruit is good for the eyes? ›

Mango and papaya are full of nutrients that help support healthy eyes. Two key nutrients are the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These act as a natural sunblock, absorbing excess light coming into the retina.

Is there an eye drop that dissolves cataracts? ›

Any eye drop claiming to treat the condition by dissolving cataracts is a scam. Such treatment doesn't exist, so any assertions they make about what the eye drops do are essentially false. However, there is emerging research that suggests an eye drop-based cataract treatment may be viable in the future.

What is the new treatment for cataracts in 2024? ›

The Light Adjustable Lens (LAL) by RxSight is a newer IOL option that enables patients to trial and customize their vision after cataract surgery, taking customized IOL powers to the next level. LAL uses a photosensitive material that adjusts lens power when it is exposed to UV light.

How can I fix my cataracts without surgery? ›

When surgery is necessary. Once a lens has begun clouding, there is no way to reverse or stop the process. Researchers are exploring different ways to treat cataracts, but currently surgery is the only way to actually correct the problem.

What is the best fruit for cataract surgery? ›

Citrus Fruits: The vitamin C in oranges and other citrus fruits (guava, amla etc.) helps maintain healthy blood vessels. Being a natural antioxidant, vitamin C is beneficial to the body for fighting off degenerative and inflammatory eye diseases.

Can anything stop cataracts growing? ›

Surgery is the only way

While the above methods may slow cataract formation, there is no way to stop growth completely. At this time, only a surgical procedure can remove a cataractous lens and restore clear vision. Individuals having difficulty seeing once clear objects should see a physician for a careful diagnosis.

How can I stop my cataracts from getting worse? ›

In general, prevention is difficult; but the most helpful practice is to avoid ultraviolet light from the sun with sunglasses. Avoid using steroid eye drops unless absolutely necessary. Avoid the rare medications that may be associated with cataract progression.

How do you stop cataracts from progressing? ›

In general, prevention is difficult; but the most helpful practice is to avoid ultraviolet light from the sun with sunglasses. Avoid using steroid eye drops unless absolutely necessary. Avoid the rare medications that may be associated with cataract progression.

What vitamin is good for eyes and cataracts? ›

Vitamin A and vision make potent allies. Carrots contain lots of beta carotene and Vitamin A, which can contribute to your eyes' health and may provide a fantastic source of eye vitamins for macular degeneration and cataracts. Good sources of Vitamin A and rhodopsin are also abundant in carrots.

What vitamin deficiency causes cataracts? ›

In conclusion, we found vitamin D deficiency to be associated with early age-related cataract in a statistically significant manner.

Which two nutrients decrease the risk of early onset of cataracts? ›

Lutein & Zeaxanthin

People who got the most lutein and zeaxanthin had a much lower risk for developing new cataracts. Dark green leafy vegetables are the primary source of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as other colorful fruits and vegetables like broccoli, corn, peas, persimmons and tangerines.

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