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Cataracts - Are They Unavoidable?

Dec 22, 2007
All of us strive towards living a long and healthy life. However, some doctors believe that if we live long enough there is one condition that may be unavoidable: Cataracts. According to recent estimates, as many as 80 per cent of people aged 75 and over in the UK have some form of cataract. Although age is a major contributing factor, the condition can also be triggered by diabetes and the long-term use of steroids.

Cataracts occur when proteins inside your lens - the flexible and transparent part of your eye which allows light to pass through - clump together. The most common cause of this is a life-time of exposure to free radicals such as sunlight. The formation of cataracts is speeded up by high blood sugar levels, which is one of the main reasons why diabetics have a high risk of getting cataracts.

Once a cataract it's nearly impossible for light to reach your eye and your vision soon becomes distorted. One or both eyes may be affected and over time the condition may result in complete blindness.

Some commons symptoms of eye-related diseases, including cataracts are:

- The onset of cloudy or fuzzy vision

- Seeing spots in your vision

- Difficulty driving at night due to the blinding headlights of oncoming traffic

- Unusual sensitivity to light sources such as street lamps and sunlight

- Difficulty differentiating between colors, especially shades of blue

- Having to change your glasses frequently as your eyesight deteriorates

Treatment for cataracts is dependant on the severity of the condition. Atropine eye drops may be prescribed to dilate the pupil and help more light reach the inside of your eye. Surgery, which can completely restore your vision, is opted for when the quality of life of the patient is affected. This surgery removes the diseased lens and implants an artificial one. This procedure can sometimes cause complications such as infection and in a small number of cases surgery can lead to further visual impairment.

The good news is that there are simple steps you can take right now to prevent the condition from developing. Since smoking contributes to the risk of developing cataracts, a vital step in cataract prevention is to quit smoking. Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet light and a hat with a wide brim will help reduce eye exposure to UV rays and may cut the risk of cataracts.
About the Author
Denise Villani is an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on cataracts, vision and the rest of the senses by visiting ITZDeevSense.com .
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