Are Cataracts Affected by Diet?

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When the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy and difficult to see through, it is usually due to cataracts. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in older adults.

Factors that increase your risk of developing cataracts include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, excessive drinking, having a family history of cataracts, and poor diet. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes.

In their early stages, symptoms of cataracts may only be annoying and inconsistent. You may need more light for tasks, notice light sensitivity, or your vision may seem like you are looking out of a dirty window.

Foods To Eat and Avoid

While there’s no way to prevent cataracts, making some lifestyle changes may lower your risk to developing them early.  You can’t do much about your age or genetics, but you can change your diet.  Following a diet rich in zeaxanthin, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E may help slow the growth of cataracts.

Zeaxanthin and Lutein can be found in eggs and green leafy vegetables.  Omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in certain fish (non-fried and oily – like salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel.)  Make sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables every day to get your servings of Vitamins A and C.  For Vitamin E, look to nuts and vegetable oils.

B vitamins help your eye health as well. Although they are not antioxidants, they contribute to the production of some antioxidant compounds.  You can find B vitamins in spinach, eggs, yogurt, milk, mushrooms, almonds, and peanut butter. The nutrient is also in meats like venison, lamb, and lean beef.

When possible, try to get your vitamins from foods rather than supplements.

To maintain your eye health, it’s important to avoid carbonated drinks, sugary treats, processed meats, and fried foods. These foods seem to increase your risk of developing cataracts, along with other health issues.

You should also do your best to reduce your sodium intake as much as possible, as it is also linked to a higher risk of developing cataracts.

Concerned That You or a Loved One May Have Cataracts?

Regular eye checkups are critical to ensure good eye health, including cataracts.  VisionPoint Eye Center has an expert staff that will help you understand what you need to preserve your vision.  Request an appointment at VisionPoint Eye Center in Bloomington, IL today!

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