A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil.
Cataract is the most common cause of vision loss in people over 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Today, cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans age 40 and older. And as the U.S. population ages, more than 30 million Americans are expected to have cataracts by the year 2020, says Prevent Blindness America.
Cataract Symptoms and Signs
A cataract starts out small and at first has little effect on your vision. You may notice that your vision is blurred a little, like looking through a cloudy piece of glass or viewing an impressionist painting.
Hazy or blurred vision may mean you have a cataract.
A cataract may make light from the sun or a lamp seems too bright or glaring. Or you may notice when you drive at night that the oncoming headlights cause more glare than before. Colors may not appear as bright as they once did.
If you think you have a cataract, visit an eye doctor for an exam to any of our 20/20 eyeglass Superstore.
What Causes Cataracts?
Cataract risk factors include:
- Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources
- Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications
- Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol
- Previous eye injury or inflammation
- Previous eye surgery
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Significant alcohol consumption
- High myopia
- Family history
High dietary intakes of vitamin E and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin from food and supplements significantly decreased risks of cataract.
Good food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach. Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include spinach, kale and other green, leafy vegetables.
Antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cataract risk.
Visit our Nutrition & Eyes section to read more about eye vitamins and how a healthful diet and good nutrition may help prevent cataracts.
Another step you can take to reduce your risk of cataracts is to wear protective sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays when you are outdoors.
20/20 Eyeglass Superstore is encouraging all American to do one thing that could save your loved ones sight: Get an eye health examination from a Doctor of Optometry and reduce the risk of cataract.
Call today to book an eye health examination for yourself and your loved ones!