What is the cause of cataracts and what can you do to protect yourself?

Keeping your eyes healthy is imperative if you want to be able to enjoy clear and strong vision well into old age. At Optegra, we recognise the importance of eye health knowledge, and the importance of preventing conditions before they need medical attention.
With eye hospitals nationwide and world-class experts in a wide range of of eye conditions, we are recognised as a reliable, knowledgeable and pioneering specialist in eye healthcare.
One of the most common eye complaints we address is cataracts, a condition that severely impairs the vision of patients of all ages. Although cataract surgery is highly rewarding and our ophthalmic consultants are amongst the best in the world, we promote eye health and knowledge prior to it becoming necessary for customers to make use of our services. With that in mind, the following guide offers information and advice on the causes and prevention of cataracts in the hope that refractive cataract surgery need not be necessary.
What is the Cause of Cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the eye’s lens clouds over and this can have a substantial impact on the clarity of vision and overall eye health. The lens of the eye is predominantly made up of water and protein and in a healthy eye the protein is positioned optimally for light to travel through the lens. When the protein gathers together, cloudiness occurs and this is the beginning stages of a cataract. Over time, the cataract is likely to grow and in turn, the disruption to vision increases. At this point, cataract surgery will be required in order to remove and replace the lens of the eye.
Cataracts are more common in older people, though people of any age can suffer from the condition. There are a number of causes of cataracts, with some of the most common being:
  • Diabetes
  • An eye injury or trauma to the eye
  • Prolonged use of some medications
  • A family history of cataracts
  • Other eye conditions and illnesses
  • Excessive or prolonged exposure to sunlight
Many cases of cataracts are found in the elderly and although there is no defined cause for age-related cataracts, prolonged negative exposures or minimal examinations are widely thought to impact on the eye health of older people.
How can I Protect my Eyes from Cataracts?
There are several ways you can protect your eyes to try and avoid cataracts. Although there is no defined protection plan for preventing cataracts, the following measures are widely accepted as being excellent for eye care:
  • Have your eyes examined on a regular basis. Eye examinations can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages, which minimises the likelihood of worsening complaints and leads to quicker treatment. We have eye hospitals and clinics nationwide and would be pleased to offer personalised advice based on a non-invasive examination of your eyes. Your doctor or optician will confirm how often you should have your eyes examined.

  • Protect your eyes from the sun. Wearing sunglasses and avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays will help to protect your eyes as UV light is largely considered to be a contributing factor to the development of cataracts.

  • Reduce alcohol consumption. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has been linked to an increase in the risk of cataracts.

  • Manage illnesses as per your doctor’s advice. For illnesses that are closely linked to the development of cataracts, such as diabetes, it is vital that medical plans are followed closely. In observing your doctor’s advice, you are less likely to develop complications associated to your condition.

  • Eat a healthy, varied and vitamin-rich diet. The health of your eyes has been closely linked to a healthy and vitamin-rich diet. Increasing your consumption of colourful vegetables and vitamins will increase your antioxidant intake, which is known to boost the health of your eyes.

With there being no single defined cause of cataracts, it may seem difficult to avoid this eye condition. With regular examinations and small personal measures, however, your eye health can be maintained for significantly longer. And understanding the causes of cataracts is the key to enjoying clear sight and strong vision for many years to come.

It is wise to seek advice at your earliest opportunity for any concerns that you might have with your overall eye health and vision. If you’re concerned about cataracts, you can Book a Consultation with a cataract specialist at one of our nationwide eye clinics or eye hospitals.

We’ve already treated over 1 Million eyes and have been voted the UK’s no.1 most trusted eye specialist – so you can rest assured your eyes will be in very safe hands.

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