Cataracts are a very common in the United States, especially among the elderly. In fact, about half of all Americans have cataracts by the age of 75. Cataracts can take years to form, and they can lead to blurred vision, inability to see in dim light and complete vision loss if left untreated. The good news is that you can lower your risk of cataracts by taking care of your health.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Eating a healthy diet can do more than just help you maintain a healthy weight. It can also protect your eyesight. If you include vegetables and colorful fruits in your diet, you can lower your chances of developing cataracts in the future. They are packed with antioxidants, folic acid and calcium, which are all effective at preventing cataracts.

It’s best to limit fried foods, prepackaged meals and sugary snacks because as they have been known to increase the risk of cataracts.

Don’t Forget to Wear Sunglasses

The sun's ultraviolet rays can do more than damage your skin—they can also hurt your eyes. If you expose your eyes to the sun without protection, you can increase your risk of developing cataracts later on. That is why you should always wear sunglasses with UV protection when you go outside, even on cloudy days. The sun's ultraviolet rays can still get through the clouds and damage your eyes.

Try to keep a pair of sunglasses in your car so that you don't forget to wear them.

Put Down the Cigarette

If you smoke tobacco, now is the time to stop. Smoking doesn't just harm your lungs and heart—it can also do considerable damage to your eyes. Smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts compared to non-smokers. Smoking causes cataracts by changing the cells of the eye through oxidation.

The good news is that quitting this habit will help save you from damaging your eyes further. If you have difficulty quitting smoking on your own, you may want to ask your doctor for advice.

Be Careful With Steroid Medications

Steroid medications are effective at treating symptoms of several diseases, like asthma and lupus. However, taking these medications for long periods of time can increase the risk of cataracts. If you currently take steroids for a chronic health condition, it is even more important to get an eye checkuponce a year. An eye doctor can check for early signs of cataracts and other eye diseases.

The sooner an eye disease is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Protect Your Eyes from Trauma

Eye injuries can increase your risk of cataracts, so you should remember to wear eye goggles when playing sports or doing home improvement projects. If a ball or another object comes close to your face, these goggles will protect your eyes from damage.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

It’s alright to enjoy the occasional cocktail, but drinking alcohol too often can have negative effects on your eyes. If you have consumed too many alcoholic beverages, you may experience blurry vision, eye twitching and dry eye shortly after. Long-term vision effects of drinking alcohol include cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases. To avoid doing serious damage to your vision, try to limit your alcohol consumption as much as you can.

The idea of developing cataracts is scary, but you can take steps to prevent this disease. If you follow these useful tips, you can reduce your risk of getting diagnosed with cataracts in the future. If you would like to learn more about preventing cataracts, contact Vision Without Limits for more information or to schedule an eye exam.