Those Darn Cataracts
We’ve all heard the word ‘cataract’ and we all know it has something to do with our eyes. But how many of you know what a cataract actually is?
Answer: A cataract isn’t so much of a ‘thing’ as it is a ‘condition’. Cataracts are what we call the film or scum that causes clouding of the eye’s lens. It happens when the proteins in your eye start to break down. This usually happens as a result of age (like so many other things). It also tends to happen more in women than in men. But even then, very few people over the age of sixty or sixty-five escape hearing the word ‘cataract’ from their eye doctor.
Cataracts are not something that demand immediate attention. Most of the time people will have the condition for a few years before surgery is necessary. And nowadays the surgery is quite non-invasive. It’s an outpatient procedure followed with a next-day checkup. Patients will be required to keep their head up (not look down) for a period of time, but by and large, it is an easy and painless procedure and recovery. The majority of patients are also greatly relieved to have clarity restored to their eyesight. No more seeing things through a ‘frost-covered window’, so to speak.
Since cataracts are mostly the result of the body’s natural aging process, you might not think there is anything you can do to prevent them. But there is—or at the very least, you can take the following steps to slow their growth process down.
- Don’t smoke (or quit if you do)
- Avoid alcohol and other substances
- Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors
- Keep your blood pressure under control
- Protect your eyes from trauma
- Eat a healthy diet rich in foods that promote healthy eyes (fish, eggs, carrots, almonds, dairy foods, kale, and citrus fruit)
Regular checkups with your eye doctor are also a must. A once a year checkup is usually adequate unless you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Blurred or foggy vision that persists
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Increased inability to see in the dark
- Eye pain
- Seeing a halo around lights
- Things you look at tend to have a yellowish tint to them
It has been said that our eyes are the windows to our souls. That may be true. But they are also the tools we need to see the tiny fingers and toes of our grandchildren and great grandchildren. They are what lets us see the radiant faces of the young brides in our family and the wrinkled smile of the one you’ve loved for the past fifty or sixty years. So, take care of your eyes. Give them the TLC they deserve so that you can see and experience life on your terms.
Guest post By Darla Noble
The views expressed by the author may not reflect the views of Age Safe America, LLC. The content here should not be taken as medical, legal or financial advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your own healthcare, legal or financial professional with any questions.