We are all susceptible to developing eye problems over time. There are a number of different types of ophthalmologic disorders, but cataracts are probably the most common. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that 22 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from cataracts and over half of Americans over the age of 80 suffer from the disease. While the risk inevitably increases over time, it can be reduced considerably if you know the risk factors.
What Are the Primary Causes of Cataracts?
There are a number of reasons that Americans develop cataracts over time. Here are some of the biggest risk factors that you will need to be aware of.
Ultraviolet light can gradually damage the lens of your eye over time, which can lead to cataract formation. You can reduce the risk by minimizing your exposure to sunlight, wearing sunglasses and avoiding looking at electronic screens for extended periods of time.
Other Health Problems
Research has found a strong correlation between cataracts and other health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. The exact relationship between cataracts and these other health problems is still unclear, but existing studies such as this one from Kaiser suggest that cataract risks can be minimized by receiving treatment for these problems.
Poor Diet and Alcohol Use
Following a poor diet and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can both increase the risk of developing a cataract. This is another reason to consider losing weight and reducing your alcohol consumption if you are already concerned about developing other health problems.
Corticosteroid medications such as Benadryl are often used to reduce swelling and other inflammation. Unfortunately, these medications have also been linked to the development of cataracts for many patients. You will need to monitor your usage of these medications. They should only be used either for temporary problems or if long-term use is directed by your doctor. You should try natural solutions to deal with swelling first, such as ice, reducing weight and changing your diet.
Take All Steps to Avoid Cataract Risks
Cataracts are serious problems that affect millions of Americans. They can only be reversed by seeing a premier cataract surgeon. However, there are a number of ways to prevent them or slow their progression. If you are worried about developing cataracts, then you should be aware of the risk factors outlined above. Other factors such as previous eye injuries and genetics aren’t avoidable, but you can still minimize the risks of cataracts by taking these steps.