Are Cataracts Preventable?

A woman smiling

Do you have cataracts? You may have wondered if you could have prevented having them. In this case, there’s nothing you could have done.

Cataracts are simply part of the natural aging process. If you’re worried about cataracts and how to deal with them, you shouldn’t be.

Cataracts are natural and nothing to worry about. If you’ve started losing your vision, you can always have cataract surgery. Keep reading to learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery!

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts occur when proteins in the lens of the eye begin to clump together. When this happens, the lens becomes harder to see through.

Under normal circumstances, the lens allows light to pass through it. It adjusts the focus so you can see clearly.

But with aging, certain components in the lens begin to break down. The proteins, specifically, begin to clump up into masses.

These masses then slowly increase in size and opacity. This blocks out an increasing amount of light.

Left alone, cataracts will grow large enough to completely block out light. While cataracts as a whole are not preventable, certain factors will increase your likelihood of developing them early on. They include the following:

Having uncontrolled diabetes

If you let your diabetes get out of control and stay that way for a long time, it can cause early cataract development. Keeping your blood sugar down can help moderate this.

Too much exposure to the sun

Sunlight exposure is another cause of early cataract development. Wear UV-protected lenses when outside, and limit your time in the sun as much as possible.

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Both smoking and excessive alcohol usage will also increase your risk of early cataract development.

Eye injury, inflammation, surgery, corticosteroid use

Previous eye injury, inflammation, surgery, and the use of corticosteroid medication can all lead to cataracts. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you know that you will be using corticosteroid medication.

How Does Cataract Surgery Fix Cataracts?

Cataracts are a part of the lens. When you develop a lens and need cataract surgery, the entire lens is instead removed.

This is the only way to treat cataracts. After removing the lens, your surgeon will replace it with a synthetic IOL.

IOL is short for “intraocular lens”, and it is a customizable replacement lens. There are many kinds of IOLs, so it’s important to discuss your options with your ophthalmologist before cataract surgery.

The most basic form of an IOL is a monofocal IOL, and provides basic vision at either near or far distances. It is the least expensive, but you will need to use glasses to correct for the opposite distance.

Premium IOLs can function at near and far distances, reducing or even eliminating your need for glasses. They can provide you with the best vision you’ve had in your entire life.

An IOL is placed in the same membrane that housed your natural lens after removing the natural lens. Surgeons remove the natural lens by creating a small incision in the cornea.

They’ll leave a flap of tissue that they can close at the end. They’ll then break the lens apart using high-frequency sound or a laser, and remove the pieces with gentle suction. The procedure uses numbing eye drops to prevent you from feeling pain.

Concerned that you may need cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Rosenthal Eye Surgery in Great Neck, NY today!

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