For many people, cataracts are an unavoidable reality. Some are at higher risk than others, due to some factors that are controllable (e.g., excessive drinking/smoking) and others that are not (e.g., age, family history).
In this blog post, the team at Island Eye Surgicenter explains the factors that put you at a higher risk for cataracts.
Age is the primary risk factor for developing cataracts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) estimates that 70 percent of people will have cataracts by the time they turn 75. As the eye’s lens ages, it loses its flexibility and transparency. It also thickens. Proteins in the lens start to clump together, causing the lens to become cloudy. This results in blurred, foggy or otherwise distorted vision.
Those with a family history of cataracts are more likely to develop cataracts themselves.
Traumatic Eye Injury
A traumatic injury (e.g., blow, puncture or cut) or inflammation in the eye raises the risk of cataracts. A previous eye surgery can also increase the risk.
Reduce your risk: If you play contact sports, wear protective eye gear or a face mask to prevent an unexpected blow to the eyes. Also, use caution when tackling home improvement projects (e.g., mowing, sanding, chopping wood).
Smoking and Alcohol
Smokers and chronic drinkers are at a significantly higher risk of developing cataracts. Someone that smokes a pack a day doubles their risk of cataracts — particularly cataracts that are located in the nuclear portion of the lens and are more destructive to visual health.
Reduce your risk: Quit smoking and drink only in moderation.
The long-term use of corticosteroid medications can elevate the risk of cataracts. Individuals that regularly take steroids to manage symptoms of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis should be aware of this risk. AAO also warns that the combined use of oral and inhaled steroids is particularly risky.
Excessive exposure to sunlight (especially low-level UVB radiation) is another cataract risk factor. Individuals that spent a lot of time in the sun as a child, or work outdoors in sunny conditions are at a higher risk of developing cataracts.
Reduce your risk: Wear a wide-brimmed hat and/or sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection while outdoors.
What If I Have Cataracts?
If your cataracts have progressively gotten worse, and now limit you from performing crucial daily tasks, Island Eye Surgicenter has a solution.
We offer three types of cataract removal treatment: standard, custom and laser cataract surgery. After evaluating your eyes and discussing each option, we will help you select the procedure best suited to your needs.
To learn more about cataract removal, please contact Island Eye Surgicenter by calling (516) 877-2400 or (516) 877-1560 today.