You, Me & UV – Cataract Prevention
At Davies Eyecare, Oak Lawn, we see patients with a variety of eye conditions and issues. Many of these, such as cataracts, are treatable. It’s always easier to prevent rather than cure, so our expert optometrists firmly believe that any eye health strategy must include steps that protect and support your vision, regardless of whether there are symptoms.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are characterized by a clouding of the lens in one or both eyes due to the breakdown of proteins. This leads to reduced vision, especially at night. Other visual disturbances, such as double vision, blurring and a sensitivity to bright light are also common signs and symptoms of cataracts.
Advancing age is the most common reason why people begin to experience the signs and symptoms of cataracts. Genetics and trauma can also contribute to the issue. The exact cause can be hard to pinpoint but symptoms are certainly exacerbated by exposure to sunlight, smoking, some medications, certain diseases and a lack of vitamin C.
In the long term, cataracts can lead to blindness. As well as vision problems, cataracts can also cause secondary issues, like depression and an increased likelihood of accidents.
Who gets cataracts?
Cataracts are most common among the elderly with 50% of Americans over the age of 80 having them in one or both eyes. However, anyone can technically get them for a variety of reasons. In total, 24.4 million people in the States suffer from cataracts. This figure has risen by 20% in the last 10 years.
What’s the link between cataracts and UV?
The link between UV rays and cataracts becomes stronger all the time. UV light stimulates a harmful chemical reaction in the lens of the eye which causes proteins to stick together. This means that instead of allowing light through, they scatter it.
What can you do?
The best way to protect your eyes from UV damage is to wear sunglasses that filter out 100% of UVA and UVB light. You can also wear a hat and limit your exposure to the sun.
Vitamins are vital for the function and health of your eyes. Try eating an eye health-focused diet or consider vitamin-rich eye drops to ensure you get the support you need.
Some cataracts may form even if you do the best you can. Once you have them, you might need to consider surgical options to restore your visual experience. At Davis Eyecare, Oak Lawn, we’ll usually see you for an eye exam first to assess the severity of the cataract and will then discuss your options with you.
What can we do?
Keeping up to date with your regular at exams at the eye doctor, Oak Lawn, will help us to spot early warning signs of cataracts. However, in between appointments, you should continue to be vigilant for any changes to your eye health. Consider getting an OCT or Optos eye scan done too, as these provide wider, clearer images and cross sections of the back of your eye, enabling our eye doctors to pick up on any early signs of cataracts and other conditions.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact a member of our friendly team at Davis Eyecare Associates on 708-636-0600. We can offer you general advice on how to prevent cataracts or make you an eye appointment for further investigation. You can also request an appointment or get in touch with us online for your convenience!