Nutrition and Cataracts

When your mother told you growing up that you should eat your carrots, she was right. Plain and simple – nutrition plays a big factor in eye health. As we age, it does our eyes and body good to eat a proper diet of foods rich in nutrients and vitamins.

Vitamin A and beta carotene mainly support healthy eye function, although there are other vitamins that play a part in our overall health with regard to our vision. You want your eyes to function as well as they can for the duration of your life.  But as we age, there are eye problems to consider, such as cataracts.

Symptoms of Cataracts

Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens in the eye. Symptoms include blurry vision, trouble looking at colors and issues reading words clearly. If you feel like these symptoms pertain to you, it might be time to visit your eye doctor.

Healthy Habits

Healthy eyes begin with maintaining good health overall. Start with a balanced diet full of dark, leafy greens and fish, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids. Good health doesn’t stop with a nutritious diet; physical activity is a major component of staying healthy and can help keep your eyes at their best. Avoid smoking, as it increases your risk for cataracts, as well as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and other eye diseases and conditions. And when you are outside, protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat.

Healthy habits are a great step in protecting your vision, but early detection is key for many eye diseases, making it essential to see your eye doctor on a regular basis. Your doctor will look out for signs of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

Cataract Prevention

Most of the time cataracts just develop over a lifetime. Cataracts are common in people over the age of 50 and result from the buildup of proteins and lipids in the eye. Exposure to sunlight, eye injury, certain medicines, and treatment with corticosteroids can increase your risk for cataracts.

If you are among the many people that develop cataracts as a normal part of aging, there are options to restore the clarity of your vision. Some people have cataracts that can be corrected with a new prescription for their glasses or contacts, while others may need surgery to remove the cataracts. During cataract surgery, the surgeon removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear, intraocular lens (IOL). If cataracts affect your everyday activities, it’s time to consider surgery.

Throughout your lifetime, strive to follow a diet full of lean protein, all kinds of vegetables, and brightly colored fruits. Having a well-rounded diet full of the nutrients you need for good eye health could help delay the development of cataracts.

For more information on cataracts, visit our website, or call (309) 243-2400.

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