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In most cases, cataracts are the result of aging or of genetic predisposition, and it may not always be possible to prevent them. There are many studies now on the various anti-aging vitamins or substances present in food, which may have anti-oxidant effects and promote greater eye health or prevent cataracts from forming. Such studies are still in their infancy, but do suggest certain anti-oxidants like Vitamin C, A and E, and the mineral lutein may promote eye health. Avoiding sun damage to the eyes by wearing protective sunglasses could also keep eyes “younger” for longer.
Sometimes cataracts are caused by medications, eye injury or medical conditions. In these cases, specific steps can be taken to help prevent cataracts. If you take steroids, especially those applied directly to the eyes, or certain tranquilizers and medications for skin conditions like psoriasis, you may be able to prevent cataracts by switching to different medications. Especially steroidal eye drop medicine has shown a higher incidence of cataract development. Many people use such medicine for seasonal allergies, and you could prevent cataracts by switching to oral allergy medications instead. Check with your doctor about medications you take that have shown great risk for cataracts and see if alternate meds can be substituted which don’t carry this risk.
People with diabetes are at high risk for developing cataracts, especially when blood sugar levels are not under control. It’s important to work with a physician when you have diabetes and carefully monitor blood glucose levels regularly. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level may help prevent cataracts.
Smokers tend to be at greater risk for developing cataracts. This is yet another reason why you should consider quitting smoking. You may not only be saving yourself from the devastation of cancer, but also from cataract formation due to the aging effects of smoking.
Cataracts can form if a person sustains an eye injury. While you may not always know you’re going to get an eye injury, if you work in any professions where eye injury is possible, keep your safety glasses on at all times to keep your eyes protected. It’s important not to be cavalier about safety equipment even if you’re skilled at your job.
Although it isn’t always possible to prevent cataracts, regular eye examinations can help diagnose cataracts in early formation, when it may be possible to treat them through a variety of surgical techniques. Since cataracts can severely impact vision at later stages, and may be more difficult to treat, early treatment is important. It’s also equally valuable to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist if you notice your vision is getting blurred, which can suggest either cataract formation or glaucoma. Early treatment of either of these conditions may help keep your eyes healthy for a long time to come.
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