The human eyes contain more than 2 million working parts and process 36,000 bits of information every hour. Needless to say your eyes are one of the most complex parts of your body! With that many working parts it’s not surprising that many people develop problems with vision or their overall eye health. Cataracts are a common eye condition that affect as many as 10 million people in the world.
- By the age of 80, over half of all Americans will have developed cataracts or already had surgery for them.Â
- Cataracts cannot spread from eye to eye.
- Blocking ultraviolet sunlight may help prevent or delay cataract development. You can block ultraviolet light by wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drinking and smoking increase your risk of developing cataracts.
What Are They?
A cataract is a cloudy appearance of the lens of the eye. When a person has cataracts their vision appears cloudy, almost like they are looking through a frosted glass window. Cataracts typically do not develop quickly but gradually develop over time. You might be at a greater risk for cataracts if you have any of the following:
- Excessive sunlight exposure
- Family history
- A history of smoking
- Older age
- Excessive drinking habits
Cataract symptoms may be minimal at first but can develop over time to have a huge impact on your vision. It is best to see an ophthalmologist when you start to notice your vision is changing. You may experience:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Poor night vision
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision in one eye
- Color fading
- The appearance of halos around lights
Causes & Prevention
Cataracts can occur for a variety of reasons. There are five main types of cataracts: congenital (present at birth), age-related, radiation (develop after radiation exposure), traumatic (develop after a traumatic event) and secondary cataracts. Secondary cataracts usually develop as a result of another condition, like diabetes. The manner in which cataracts affect your eyes can also vary.
- Nuclear cataracts affect the center of the lens. Over time the lens will gradually turn yellow. This can cause nearsightedness and might also result in a short-term improvement in reading vision.
- Cortical cataracts affect the edges of the lens. These typically have a whitish streak and people who experience these most often have problems with glare.
- Posterior Subcapsular cataracts affect the back of the lens. These most often cause problems with reading vision and produce halos around lights when driving at night.
- Congenital cataracts are cataracts you are born with. Even though they might not necessarily affect your vision, they are typically removed quickly after being detected.
The best way you can help prevent cataracts is to protect your eyes! Wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed had when you are outside to keep the bright light out of your eyes. Obesity and smoking also increase your risk of developing cataracts, so living a healthy lifestyle will also lower your risk.
If you’re not ready for cataract surgery just yet or looking to reduce your risk of developing cataracts, consider one of these supplements!
- Pleo Muc Eye Drops 5X. A great homeopathic formula for your eyes or Advanced Eye Factor from Natural Factors, developed by Dr. Michael Murray!
- Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, especially in the eyes.Â
- Lutein. Lutein is often considered “the eye vitamin” and can help with symptoms related to cataracts.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3). Niacin is commonly found in meat, fish, milk and eggs and niacinamide can be made from niacin in the body.
- Riboflavin. Riboflavin is a B-vitamin that may help decrease your risk of developing cataracts.
- Thiamine. Thiamine is also a B-vitamin that can help lower your risk of developing cataracts.
Â Check out this video from the National Eye Institute for more information about cataracts.