Most of us remember our first pair of reading glasses, bifocals or even trifocals! Glasses that offer a sense of clarity in an ever-increasing blurry world. Now, more than ever, it’s important to take steps to protect our vision — which means much more than sporting a pair of Foster Grants in the sunny South!
According to the National Eye Institute, by age 80, more than 50 percent of Americans will either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. Over 22 million Americans age 40 and older have a cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lenses that blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye.
The risk of developing a cataract increases with age. Other possible risk factors include:
- Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Inflammation in the eye
- Hereditary influences
- Long-term steroid use
- Eye injuries
- Other eye diseases
If you suspect that you may be showing early signs of developing a cataract (cloudy or blurred vision) see your optometrist. Currently there are no medications or other treatment options besides surgery to correct cataracts. However, cataract surgery has a 95 percent success rate, generally resulting in patient vision of 20/20 to 20/40.
Of course we all want to take good care of our eyes. Here are some ways to maintain good eye care.
Do Not Read at Close Range
Hold books or reading materials as far away as possible, and sit with good posture.
Do Not Read in Bad Lighting
Check to ensure that the lighting is bright enough to read a book or do any near vision work without having to strain your eyes and yet not so bright as to cause glare.
Take Breaks to Relax Your Eyes
If you wear glasses, occasionally take them off and rest your eyes. If you experience dry eyes, blink more frequently to soothe them. For more extreme cases of dry eyes, talk to your optometrist. Try these eye relaxation exercises.
Go To Bed Early
Our eyes are more susceptible to myopia development at night. Turn off lights when you’re sleeping.
Smoking is the cause of more death and disease than any other single habit, and can contribute to vision damage.
Hopefully, a bit of prevention and awareness about the causes of cataracts will help us preserve our vision and keep our peepers safe!
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