Cataracts are a common eye problem that can affect people of all ages. Research suggests that cataracts cause blindness among more than 60% of blind people in South Africa.
Taking care of one’s eyesight can be expensive, especially if your eyesight has deteriorated over time. Although many people can be born with eye-related problems, there are still many ways you can take care of your eyesight and prevent it from weakening over time.
What are cataracts?
A cataract usually forms on the lens of your eye. Healthy eyesight would have a clear lens, while a cataract forming would create a cloudy lens. This can cause your eyesight to become blurry, requiring cataract surgery to repair eyesight to a clear vision.
There is no clinical evidence that suggests how to avoid cataracts. If you are in the early stages of your cataract forming, then these few tips could be helpful to you and help you maintain healthy eyesight.
Avoid prolonged use of steroid eye drops
Using steroid eye drops may be common if you regularly have dry eye. Dry eye is usually caused by ageing, side effects from using specific medication, windy conditions, extended periods of being in front of a computer or your cell phone, and Vitamin A deficiency. Steroid eye drops may assist you with dry eye, but prolonged use may have damaging side effects. Speak to an eye specialist in Johannesburg for a check-up if you notice a cataract developing.
Consider cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is the most effective way to remove cataracts that have worsened over time. Removing them in time can prevent blindness in the eyes. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial lens, improving your eyesight and allowing you to participate and enjoy activities you once did before.
Protect your eyes from sunlight
A bit of Vitamin D every day is not bad. During summer, you may enjoy lazing in the sun and spending most of your time outside instead of indoors. Always wear sunglasses to lower the amount of UV rays reaching your eyes whenever you are out and about.
Manage your health
Certain illnesses are known to increase the risk of cataracts. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, your age and if you have a family history of developing cataracts at a young age. If you are on medication or other treatments, ensure you take them as prescribed to minimise the risk. Chat to your health provider on the best way to stay healthy and decrease your chances of having cataracts.
Attend regular check-ups
Book an appointment with an eye specialist as often as you can for regular eye examinations. The ophthalmologist will perform a thorough assessment of your eye health and will be able to detect any eye disease or problem beforehand. By attending frequent appointments with your ophthalmologist, you can protect your eyesight and prevent eye-related issues from worsening. Different factors such as your health, medical history and whether you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses may depend on how often you need to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The basic rule of thumb is to book an appointment every two to three years.
Book an appointment with your eye specialist if you are concerned you may have a cataract.
About Dr. Sachin Bawa
Sachin Bawa is a founder of Dr. Sachin Bawa Cataract and Vision Clinic. He is a qualified ophthalmic surgeon for more than 9 years. He holds a medical degree from the University of Witswatersrand which he completed in 2004.