Whether you have a family history of the condition or you're just trying to do the best you can for your overall health, understanding your risk for cataracts is important. Since it's one of the leading causes of vision problems, it's something that should be taken seriously. While there are certain factors, such as genetics, that you cannot influence, some of the lifestyle choices you make every day can actually contribute to your risk factor, or lack thereof, of developing cataracts. Here are a few things to think about.
How Is Your Diet?
Your diet can contribute to your cataract risk in a few different ways. First, the development of diabetes can significantly increase your risk of cataracts. The healthier your diet, the more consistent your blood sugar levels will be. If you can minimize your risk of diabetes, you'll eliminate this additional risk factor for the condition.
In addition, certain vitamins and minerals can help to minimize your chances of developing this condition. For example, vitamins E and C are important to cataract prevention. Make sure that your diet is rich in antioxidants and vitamins like these to help ward this off.
Do You Protect Your Eyes?
If you go outside in the sunlight and you don't protect your eyes, that can increase your risk of cataracts. The sun's UV rays have been shown to increase cataract growth. Make sure that you always wear quality, UV-blocking sunglasses anytime you go outside, no matter what the season or weather. Remember that UV rays can pass through clouds and overcast conditions.
Also, reduce the risk of any rays reaching your eyes from directly above by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or something similar to block overhead rays when you are spending any significant time out in the sun. That way, you protect your eyes from every direction.
Do You Have Any Habits That Increase Your Risk?
In addition to your diet and general protection choices, habits that you have can contribute to your cataract risk, too. For example, those who smoke or drink heavily are also at greater risk of developing cataracts later in life. It's best to avoid smoking altogether, as it increases not only your risk of cataracts, but also certain cancers. Alcohol has been deemed less of a risk when it's consumed in moderation, but excess consumption can increase your risk factors.
Understanding how you could be contributing to your risk of cataracts is important. With these tips and the guidance of your optometrist, you may be able to reduce your risk and protect your eyes. Contact a medical office like Leader Heights Eye Center for more information.