According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Young patients can be affected as well, but your risk of developing cataracts typically rises after age 55 and up, and patients with diabetes are at much higher risk. More than 25 million people have a cataract in one or both eyes.
Cataracts can develop depending on age, UV exposure, genetic factors, smoking, and nutritional deficiencies. Cataracts develop in stages in 4 stages:
Stage One: Early Stage
During the first stage, the lens stays clear, but your ability to focus at distance and then refocus on near objects is slowly lost. You may experience, mild blurring or clouding, increasing light sensitivity, early appearance of glare, and increasing eye strain.
Stage Two: Immature Stage
During the immature stage, lens opacity is enough to noticeably obstruct vision. The edge of the pupil casts a shadow on the lens. You may experience, blurred vision, dimmed vision, and double vision.
Stage Three: Mature Stage
The mature stage causes the lens to become an amber color, or completely white. The iris edge stops casting a shadow. You may experience the same stages as the immature stage symptoms, but more severe.
Stage Four: Hypermature Stage
During the final stage, the lens shrinks and develops white spots. Occasionally, the lens may partially dislocate or suffer from glaucoma. You may experience, significant blur and loss of vision.
Along with the stages of development, there are three different types of cataracts:
Nuclear Sclerotic- These cataracts deeply form in the nucleus. Slowly, the central portion of the crystalline lens will yellow and harden.
Cortical- These cataracts develop white opaque “spokes” that start to affect your peripheral vision and slowly work toward the center.
Posterior Subcapsular- Progression varies with this type of cataract but tends to develop more rapidly. They affect patients that use high doses of steroids and diabetic patients.
Here are some tips to help prevent the development of cataracts:
- Eat Right: Introduce more antioxidant and glutathione-rich (a detoxifying antioxident) foods into your diet such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprouts, avocados, grapefruit, and strawberries. Drink plenty of water also helps flush out harmful toxins.
- Wear Protective Glasses: The suns UV rays are harmful to your eyes, and researches have confirmed that UV rays can cause cataracts by damaging proteins within the lens of your eyes. Whichever brand or style you choose, make sure they offer 99%-100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid Smoking: Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to your heart and lungs, but smoking can also harm your eyes. Free radicals are created in your eyes when you inhale smoke. When you smoke, good chemicals in your body are consumed, encouraging the production of toxins that cause cataracts.
If you feel that you are developing or currently are suffering from cataracts, call us today at (941) 756-2020.