Well, there’s no other way than surgery if you want to get rid of cataracts. However, it doesn’t require immediate surgery in all cases. In fact, there are many simple ways to manage cataracts at home.
The most common cause of blindness in the world is cataracts, and it develops because of changes and clouding in the eye’s lens. Mostly as a result of ageing or injury. Vision becomes fuzzy as the proteins and fibres in the lens of the eye start to deteriorate and break down. Additionally, it may manifest as glare, colour disruption, and diminished contrast sensitivity.
Around the age of 40, cataracts typically begin to develop in humans. This clearly means that the most common cause of cataracts is ageing, and you have no control over it. Other causes include trauma, certain inherited genetic disorders that run in families, infections in the eyes such as corneal ulcers, after eye surgery, chronic steroid usage, and illnesses like diabetes. In extremely rare cases, babies are born with this condition as a result of birth abnormalities.
Cataracts cannot be cured naturally. The Mayo Clinic states that no research has demonstrated a way to prevent cataracts or delay their development. However, adopting some healthy lifestyle habits can help you avoid or manage cataracts.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Shibal Bhartiya, Senior Consultant, Department of Ophthalmology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, to find some ways to manage cataract.
Here are ways to manage cataracts at home:
1. Quit smoking: Smoking results in the release of toxic-free radicals which accelerate the formation of cataracts. So, quit smoking!
2. Manage other health problems like diabetes: Maintaining your blood sugar in the normal range can help retard the development of cataracts.
3. Choose a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants: Make sure you include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get adequate vitamins and nutrients. While there is limited evidence that supplements with antioxidants help maintain eye health, a healthy diet has been associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have many other health benefits too, and always remember, healthy eyes reside in a healthy body.
4. Wear sunglasses: Both ultraviolet A and B rays can result in the development of cataracts. Wear protective sunglasses to block these harmful sun rays when you’re outdoors.
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5. Reduce the risk of trauma: Wear protective polycarbonate glasses when playing sports or during hobbies which may cause eye injuries.
6. Reduce alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of cataracts.
7. Avoid drugs: Do not use steroid medications or eyedrops unless specifically advised by your doctor. Indiscriminate use of steroids can result in cataract formation.
8. Have regular eye examinations: Make sure to see your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision. If you develop any symptoms, such as double vision, decreased vision, painful red eyes, coloured haloes around lightbulbs, or flashes of light, sudden eye pain, or sudden headache, consult your eye doctor without delay. This will minimise the risk of any eye diseases which may result in an accelerated cataract formation.