how to prevent cataracts melbourne

How to Prevent Cataracts? 5 Steps To Reduce The Risk

The effect of cataracts is one of the most common vision problems we face as we age. Cataract surgery is performed thousands of times each year in Australia alone, and may be expected to increase in number as our population ages. Whether you’re in your 20s, 40s, or 60s, if you’re not too keen on needing cataract surgery in the future, you may be wondering how to prevent cataracts, and whether it’s even possible. 

 

How to Prevent Cataracts (or at least reduce your risk of needing a cataract surgeon)?

It may not be possible to entirely avoid cataract surgery with certainty. However, there some relatively simple lifestyle modifications you can consider to delay the onset and progression of cataracts, the vision problems that come with them, and your likelihood of needing cataract surgery. Here are 5 steps on how to prevent cataracts

 

 

  1. Minimise UV exposure to your eyes 

The role of ultraviolet radiation in the formation of cataracts is not fully understood. However, experts do know that people who are exposed to greater amounts of UV light tend to require cataract surgery earlier than those who aren’t. For example, populations of people who spend a lot of time outdoors whether for work or play, and those who live in equatorial countries that receive more UV, tend to develop cataracts with a higher prevalence. Therefore, in trying to understand how to prevent cataracts, protecting the eyes from UV exposure often comes first. This can be as simple as wearing a hat and sunglasses when outdoors, especially when the UV index is predicted to be high. UV protection is beneficial not only for reducing the development and progression of cataracts but can also help you avoid other eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and certain eye cancers. 

 

  1. Quit smoking

Your cataract surgeon knows that smoking is positively and directly related with the development of cataracts. This means that the more you smoke, the higher the likelihood that you will develop cataracts. It is also well known that the effects of cigarette smoking extend beyond contributing to vision problems such as cataract and macular degeneration. Quitting smoking will benefit not only your eyesight but your lungs and skin as well. 

 

  1. Avoid eye injuries

Because accidents happen, every time you’re engaging in a high-risk activity, it’s important to wear appropriate eye protection. Although most cataract surgery cases involve age-related cataracts, a smaller percentage of cataracts are caused by trauma, and may need the attention of a specialised cataract surgeon.  Trauma-related cataracts can be due to physical trauma, which includes blunt or penetrating injuries. An example of blunt trauma may be the impact of a squash ball to the eye, while a penetrating eye injury can be from a shard of glass from a broken window, or more commonly, a car accident. Although it’s not always possible or practical to wear eye protection (like when driving a car), if you are involved in any sort of construction work, metalwork, woodwork, or something similar, it’s important to always wear safety glasses with an appropriate safety rating. Eye trauma and resultant cataracts can also arise from chemical causes, so if you work with chemicals, whether in a lab or your own garden, eye protection there is also a good idea. 

 

  1. Reduce alcohol consumption 

Studies have shown that heavy alcohol intake can increase your risk of needing early cataract surgery. Heavy alcohol consumption is defined as more than two standard drinks a day. The association appears to be related to increasing your risk of developing age-related cataracts, possibly through oxidative damage to the lens of your eye, which is where cataracts form. Moderate alcohol consumption was either found to have no significant influence on cataract formation or offered a potential protective effect. 

 

  1. Eat foods high in antioxidants

As oxidative damage to the lens can induce cataract formation, packing your diet with antioxidants may have a protective effect. Specifically, vitamins A, C, and E are potent antioxidants with the potential to delay the onset or progression of age-related cataracts. However, not all studies have found that a certain diet can offer protective effects against cataracts. Since a well-balanced diet is generally beneficial for all aspects of the body, if you wish to increase your intake of antioxidants, among various other fruits and vegetables, consider produce such as capsicum, tomatoes, pecans, walnuts, and kale. 

 

Cataract Surgery

cataract reducing risks melbourneDespite taking all possible measures against developing a cataract, you may eventually still find yourself facing the prospect of a cataract operation. Be reassured that cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure, with very low rates of complications.

As an added bonus, quite often after a cataract has been removed, people find themselves much less dependent on glasses or contact lenses, particularly for long distance vision. This is because once the cataract has been extracted, an artificial lens is implanted in its place, which is typically calculated to correct for your eye’s prescription.

If you’ve opted for a premium multifocal lens implant, or have organised with your cataract surgeon to have an implant in one eye for distance and the other for near vision, you may not even need glasses for reading. 

Your optometrist or ophthalmologist are the best people to diagnose and help you manage your cataracts. In the early stages, you may not need any surgical intervention as your vision is still quite reasonable. Even as the cataract progresses, you may find that simply updating your glasses or improving your task lighting around the home is enough to let you see comfortably enough. If and when the cataract reaches a stage where your sight is significantly affected, your eyecare professional will discuss cataract surgery with you. 

Call us today on (03) 9070 3580.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

 

 

References

How Can I Prevent Cataracts?
https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/cataracts/how-can-i-prevent-cataracts

Different Amounts of Alcohol Consumption and Cataract.
https://journals.lww.com/optvissci/fulltext/2015/04000/Different_Amounts_of_Alcohol_Consumption_and.13.aspx

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How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a very common procedure, making how long does it take to recover from cataract surgery a very common question. To understand more about cataract surgery recovery and what you can do to make the post-operative period as smooth as possible, keep reading. 

 

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is considered to be a very safe operation with low rates of complications. Depending on your surgeon and type of operation technique, an uneventful cataract operation can take as little as 15 to 20 minutes for each eye. If your cataract surgery went smoothly, and you encounter no bumps or hiccups during your cataract surgery recovery period, most people can expect their vision to be stabilised within 4 to 6 weeks. However, your return to your usual activities may be sooner.

Depending on your vocation, you may feel comfortable returning to work within a few days of your cataract surgery. This will most likely apply to patients who work in more sedentary office jobs. If your occupation involves more intense tasks such as hard labour, heavy lifting, or being exposed to environments with an increased risk of infection or trauma, your ophthalmologist may tell you to take a bit more time off from work. 

 

 

When asking how long does it take to recover from cataract surgery, many patients are also interested in knowing when they can return to driving. This can depend on a few factors and ideally, you would wait until your sight has been checked by your ophthalmologist or optometrist before getting behind the wheel. Before giving you the all-clear to return to driving, your eye care professional will consider your visual acuity (clarity of vision). If your other eye can achieve good vision, it may not matter if your recently-operated eye is still a bit blurry during the early days of your cataract surgery recovery. For private vehicle licensing in Australia, the minimum visual acuity requirements are stated with the two eyes viewing together (binocular vision).

Typically, your binocular visual acuity is at least as good as your better eye. However, some people may feel unbalanced or disoriented if there is a large difference in sight between the eyes as a result of one having had cataract surgery. Having a large discrepancy in sight can also affect your depth perception, making driving dangerous. If your ophthalmologist anticipated that undergoing cataract surgery on one eye was likely to result in an unacceptably large prescription difference between the eyes, you may have already discussed the possibility of operating on the other side to balance the sight, even if the cataracts are not significant. In this case, it is best to wait until you are comfortable with your sight before getting behind the wheel. 

It is not uncommon to experience some degree of discomfort around the eyes immediately after your cataract surgery. In studies conducted about post-operative pain, the researchers acknowledged that the concept of pain is quite subjective, and even experiences like grittiness or dryness of the eyes might be reported by patients as pain. Typically, pain is anticipated to resolve within the week. For more vague symptoms of general ocular discomfort or glare sensitivity, studies have reported they may take some more time to recover, sometimes a matter of months. 

 

Cataract Surgery Recovery Tips

Although there’s no way to 100% guarantee that you’ll run into no issues during your recovery, there are some steps you can take to minimise your risk of an adverse event occurring after removing your cataracts. After your operation, your ophthalmologist will provide you with a list of instructions for the post-operative period. Always follow these specific care instructions; they may vary from specialist to specialist, and may be different depending on your particular circumstances.

Here are some general guidelines for optimising your post-cataract surgery recovery.

  1. Use your eye drops to the end. 

surgery eye cataract recovery melbourneAfter your cataract procedure, you’ll be prescribed 2 to 3 eyedrop medications. These are usually an antibiotic, a steroid, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). The antibiotic is used as a preventative measure, to minimise your risk of encountering an infection until you have fully healed. The steroid and NSAID are to help control the inflammation that occurs as a natural response after your surgery. Though it may be tempting to stop the drops as soon as your eye feels better, it’s important to complete the course of medications as prescribed, which is typically for 4 weeks. 

  1. Avoid any contaminants or foreign substances near the eye.

Your eyedrop medications are an exemption, of course. Dirt, dust, and debris are obvious contaminants you want to avoid getting into your eye. However, swimming pools, seawater, spas and saunas, can also be sources of eye infections as the water is unsterile. As your eye is healing, you will also want to keep cosmetics, lotions, soaps, and aerosols away from your eye as much as possible. 

  1. Don’t delay if something doesn’t feel right.

Although it’s anticipated to experience some sort of discomfort around the eyes in the days to weeks following cataract surgery as previously mentioned, you should expect your eye to slowly but continuously improve. If your eye begins to deteriorate in terms of pain, redness, or sight, or start to produce discharge, contact your ophthalmologist immediately.

 

Call us now on (03) 9070 3580 for a consultation.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

 

 

 

References

What To Expect During Cataract Surgery Recovery.
https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/cataract-surgery-recovery

Recovery After Cataract Surgery.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/aos.13055

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what is a cataract in the eye melbourne

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What Does Cataract Vision Look Like?
what does cataract vision look like melbourne

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Australia. However, before you see a cataract surgeon, your cataracts first need to Read more

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