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Are Cataracts Preventable?

Cataracts are a serious eye health issue that can impact your vision. Some people are more at risk of developing cataracts than others. To lower your risk of having cataracts, you need to understand what puts you at risk and what you can do to prevent them. 

Who Is at Risk?

The factor that puts you most at risk of developing cataracts is aging. Although growing older does not definitively mean that you will have cataracts, it does increase the likelihood.  

Your family medical history also plays a role in cataract development. If you have an immediate family member, such as your parents or siblings, who had cataracts, you are at a greater risk. Your own medical history can be a factor. Medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, could increase risk. 

Even if you do not have a family history of cataracts, you could still develop them if you have been overexposed to ultraviolet radiation. Even frequent x-rays could be a factor.  

If you have had a serious vision problem in the past, such as retinal detachment or glaucoma, the risk increases.  

What Can You Do?

Although you cannot stop time from moving forward, there are things you can do to lower your risk of developing cataracts. One of the most important steps you can take is to get control of your blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic and lower your blood pressure if you suffer from hypertension.  

You also need to have regular eye examinations with your optometrist. As you age or experience other vision problems, your doctor might ask you to schedule examinations more frequently.  

It is important that you take the necessary steps to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation. Most people know about the importance of using sunscreen to protect their skin, but some people do not realize that their eyes are just as vulnerable to the sunlight. Protecting your eyes is as simple as either wearing sunglasses when you are outside or keeping a wide brimmed hat on in the sun. 

You should also focus on improving your diet. Research has shown there is some benefit to eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants. Talk to your family doctor to develop a diet plan that is right for you.  

Your eye doctor can help you pinpoint other ways that you can protect your eyes and lower your risk of developing cataracts. You can also receive additional advice on helping to avoid other conditions.