Cataract Awareness Month: How Can I Prevent Cataracts?

Cataract Awareness Month: How Can I Prevent Cataracts?

Cataracts occur when proteins in the normally clear crystalline lens of the eye break down and cause clouding. As the lens clouds, less light can pass through the lens to the retina (the part of the eye that turns light into images) thus making vision more blurry and difficult as cataracts progress. While cataracts can happen at any age, they most commonly develop after the age of 60. Because of this, and the risk for this age category to develop other eye conditions, regular eye exams and cataract management plans are recommended for seniors. While there is no guarantee that you can fully prevent cataracts, research has shown the following factors to be linked with reduced risk of cataract development.

Take Control Of Your Health To Reduce Cataract Risk

1. A Healthy Diet
Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats helps to prevent disease. To guard against cataracts, try to consume foods with high levels of vitamin C and E, as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help to prevent cataracts by reducing the damage of UV rays on the eyes as well as inhibiting lens opacification.

2. Protect Your Eyes
Wearing sunglasses alone won’t protect your eyes; they have to specify they are UV blocking. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses all year round can help protect your eyes from various eye conditions, including cataracts. UV rays damage the proteins in your eye, which can increase both the risk of developing cataracts and the rate of development.  Also ensure you wear your UV blocking shades in the winter, as UV light is reflected off of snow and can damage your eyes as much as the hot summer sun can.

3. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes is linked to a variety of health issues, but in regards to cataracts, smoking damages the lipids and proteins in the eyes. The degradation of these same elements causes a clouding of the lens. Smoking also kills the antioxidants needed to fight the progression of cataracts and it instead produces toxins that increase the risk of cataracts.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake
Alcohol increases the body’s inflammatory response and dehydrates the body, both of which contribute to eye damage that can cause cataracts. It’s recommended to limit alcohol intake to one drink per day.

5. Avoid Long Term Steroid Use
While many people may think of steroid use for muscle building, they are actually most commonly used as forms of medication for allergies, arthritis, blood disorders, and more. The prolonged use of corticosteroids can lead to the development of a type of cataract that forms underneath the lens of the eye.

6. Have Other Health Conditions Under Control
Diabetes and high blood pressure can both be related to various eye conditions. Diabetes, specifically, can lead to cataracts as the prolonged high levels of blood sugar can cause the lens to swell. The lens of your eye also changes blood sugar into sorbitol, which is a slow-metabolizing sugar alcohol. When this chemical collects in the lens it can cause a cataract to form.

7. Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Cataracts can develop slowly over time and you may not even know you are developing one until it starts to affect your vision. Having regular eye exams allows your optometrist to detect any changes in your eye before your vision is affected and your optometrist can help you manage any symptoms you may begin to show.

Cataract Management In SE Calgary

If you want to protect your eyes against cataracts, follow the tips above and schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Specs in the City. Our Calgary optometrists will examine your eyes and check for any signs of cataracts. If this eye condition has started to develop, your optometrist will work with you to create a cataract management plan. At Specs in the City Optometry, our experienced optometrists are here to diagnose and treat any cataracts you may be suffering from. Our comprehensive cataract management service includes pre and post-surgery care for cataract surgery. To schedule a senior’s eye exam with one of our Calgary optometrists, contact Specs in the City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: What are some common signs and symptoms of cataracts?
A: Common signs and symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry/cloudy vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Need for brighter light to see objects
  • Seeing halos around lights

If you notice changes in your vision or suffer from any of these symptoms, visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam to receive a proper diagnosis.

Q: Can cataracts be cured?
A: While a cataract is incurable, it can be effectively treated. Cataract surgery can also be performed. The procedure sees the removal of the affected eye lens replaced with an intraocular one.

Q: How fast do cataracts grow?
A: The majority of cataracts develop quite slowly and do not require surgery for months or even years. That being said, some types of cataracts progress quickly, causing cloudy vision within only a few months.

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