Your last visit with your optometrist to have your eyes examined showed traces of protein buildup in your lens. This is the beginning of cataracts. While it may be years until they cause you vision problems, there are some things you can do to prolong cataract surgery, which is still the most effective treatment for cataracts.
Where Cataracts Come From
Researchers don't know what triggers the start of cataracts. Family history contributes to your risk of getting cataracts, as do some environmental conditions. Exposure to ultraviolet light appears to encourage the production of protein strands in the lens to shield the eye from damage.
As the protein strands collect in the center of the lens, it will become foggy, and your vision will become blurry. At night, lights will have a characteristic halo around them. Your eye becomes more sensitive to light, and driving at night will be difficult.
Slowing Down Cataracts
Cataracts are slow to develop, and it may be years before they affect your vision. If you can slow their growth even more, you may avoid surgery altogether. Talk with your optometrist about these ways to stave off surgery as long as you can.
Increase vitamins in your diet - The vitamins A, B, C and E are good for healthy, strong eye muscles and preventing damage to your eyes from pollution and the sun.
Avoid excess salt, fat and alcohol in your diet - These have been shown to increase the development of cataracts.
Stop smoking - The smoke from cigarettes irritates the eye and can cause the development of cataracts to protect the eye.
Increase the intake of antioxidants - Antioxidants boost your immune system to help it fight off eye disease and other health issues that contribute to cataract formation.
Limit your eye exposure to ultraviolet rays - Wear sunglasses or a hat with a long bill to shield your eyes from the sun. Take care when working or playing near surfaces that reflect a lot of sunlight, such as water or buildings with many windows. The reflected light can make its way to your eye around sunglasses that don't extend far enough around the eye to trap that light.
When Your Vision Starts to Fail
Should the cataracts become large enough to block the light from your retina, no amount of correction will let you see clearly. To regain your vision, cataract surgery may be your only option.
Before seeing an eye doctor about cataract surgery, talk with your optometrist about the availability of a new eye drop that, in some cases, dissolves the cataracts and restores the clarity of your lens. This may be another step to try before going in for surgery on your eyes.
For more information, contact Linden Optometry PC or a similar location.