As Cataract Awareness Month comes to a close, we want to talk a little bit about this serious eye disease. A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye that may affect your vision. A person with cataracts may experience fuzzy or cloudy vision, double vision, or extreme glare from headlights or the sun.
In many cases, cataracts are small and do not affect a person’s vision. A doctor can perform a physical exam to see if you may have cataracts. As a cataract grows, it may cause the issues noted above. If the cataract becomes big enough that a person’s eyesight, or lack of it, causes a reduction in their quality of life, surgery can be performed.
But let’s start with the risk factors associated with cataracts. There are a few that stand out, such as:
- Age. As we get older, we develop a higher risk for cataracts.
- Genetics. If your family history includes cataracts, you are more likely to be predisposed to it.
- Diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the lens of the eye.
- Glaucoma. If you have surgery to treat glaucoma, unfortunately you are more at risk for cataracts.
- Smoking. Smoking may also damage the lens of the eye by forming chemicals called free radicals. High levels of these chemicals can damage cells, including the cells in the lens of the eye.
- Ultraviolet Radiation. UVB rays, specifically, can increase the development of cataracts.
- Steroid Medication. If you are taking steroid medication for conditions such as asthma or emphysema on a long-term basis, you have a higher risk of developing cataracts.
Currently there is no way to PREVENT cataracts altogether, but there are things you can do to slow it down, such as:
- Eat Healthy and Exercise. We cannot overstate the positive benefits that come from having a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy and getting regular exercise. Diabetes can cause a host of other health issues, so avoiding it should be at the top of your list.
- Stop Smoking. This is also a habit that may cause a lot of other negative health issues, including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
- Wear Sunglasses and a Hat in the Sun. If you are out in the sun, take the necessary precautions to protect your skin and eyes like wearing a hat and sunglasses and using sunscreen.
- Don’t Use Tanning Beds. You are getting an extra dose of ultraviolet radiation, which may cause skin cancer in addition to cataracts.
- Reduce Usage of Steroid Medication. If you are on long-term steroid medication, consult your doctor to see if there is another non-steroid medication that will be as effective.
At Assisting Hands Home Care we can provide your loved one with safe transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands. We can also make sure they are getting the appropriate nutrition and exercise that is appropriate for them. Whether you need someone to be with them during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.
Contact us today to schedule your free in-home fall prevention assessment at 630-305-9100.