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Counteracting Cataracts—All You Need to Know about Preventing, Recognizing, and Treating Cataracts

12:00am & Tips and Advice

Did you know that out of the estimated 8 billion people all over the globe, at least 2.2 billion have a near or distant vision impairment?

Of these 2.2 billion people, about 94 million of those with impaired vision suffer specifically from the common condition known as cataracts.

To add even more insult to this shocking statistic, the World Health Organization reports that at least 1 billion of these vision impairment cases—or almost half—could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

One thing is clear, and it’s obviously not our eyes—A lot of us can’t see.

However, something that is not hard for anyone to see, regardless of the quality of their eyesight, is that vision loss is a serious issue that desperately needs to be addressed.

Back to the Basics—What Do I Need to Know About Cataracts?

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common eye condition characterized by the clouding of the lens in the eye that leads to a decrease in vision quality.

Cataracts typically develop slowly over time and may affect one or both eyes.

Normally, the lens of the eye is clear and transparent, allowing light to pass through and focus on the retina at the back of the eye.

However, with cataracts, the lens becomes progressively opaque or cloudy, thus impairing your vision.

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts can be caused for a few different reasons:

Age-related changes

The natural aging process can cause structural and chemical changes in the lens, leading to cataract formation.

Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation

Prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially without the proper eye protection, may contribute to cataract development.


Eye injuries or certain medical conditions that affect the eye can increase the risk of cataracts.


Unfortunately, some individuals may just have a genetic predisposition to developing cataracts.

Excessive drinking of alcohol

Excessive and prolonged alcohol intake can contribute to various health issues, including eye-related problems such as cataracts.

Limiting alcohol consumption and maintaining a balanced diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants are generally recommended for maintaining overall eye health.

It's important to note that moderate alcohol consumption, defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, has not been consistently linked to an increased risk of cataracts. Remember to drink responsibly.


People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cataracts due to long-term exposure to high blood sugar levels, which can affect the lens.


Smoking increases the production of free radicals, or the atoms responsible for damaging the lipids and proteins in your eyes. These free radicals cause deposits to form on the surface of the eye’s lens, eventually leading to cataract development.

In fact, smokers are two to three times more likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.

Chronic inflammation of your eye (Uveitis)

Chronic inflammation can disrupt the normal functioning of the eye's structures, including the lens. Prolonged inflammation can lead to changes in the lens, causing it to become cloudy and eventually develop into a cataract.

Taking certain medicines for a prolonged period

Long-term use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids or medications used to treat conditions like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis, can increase the risk of cataracts.

What Do Cataracts Look Like?

Cataracts appear as a clouding or opacity in the usually clear lens of the eye. However, the appearance of cataracts can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition.

A comprehensive eye examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist is necessary for an accurate diagnosis of cataracts, as these abnormalities could be attributed to a different eye condition.

What Does Vision Look Like with Cataracts?

Cataracts manifest themselves in different ways depending on the type and severity of the cataracts.

However, some vision abnormalities that are common for people with cataracts include:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Faded colors
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Glare and sensitivity to light
  • Appearance of halos around lights
  • Multiple images or double vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night

Recognizing Cataracts—What Signs Should I Look Out For?

What are the First Signs of Cataracts?

Cataracts are a progressive condition, so while the signs themselves generally remain the same throughout the course of the condition, they will start subtly and continue to intensify gradually over time.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms that people with cataracts tend to experience are:

  • Blurred or fuzzy vision
  • Shadows or spots in vision
  • Changes in prescription of glasses or contacts
  • Loss of depth perception
  • Reduced color perception
  • Multiple images or double vision
  • Glare and sensitivity to light
  • Appearance of halos around lights
  • Poor contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing in low lighting
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Diminished overall vision
  • Improved vision in bright lights

How to Prevent Cataracts—What Can I do to Avoid Them?

While it may not be possible to completely prevent the formation of cataracts due to various factors such as genetics and age, there are steps you can take to potentially reduce the risk or delay their development.

Here are some suggestions of preventive measures that may be beneficial:

Look Away! Shade Your Eyes from the Sun

Remember the days when your mum told you not to look directly into the sun? Turns out she was right.

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can increase the risk of cataracts.

 However, you can protect your eyes from this harmful radiation by wearing sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays when you are outdoors, even on cloudy days. 

Feast Your Eyes... Literally!

Remember that we eat with our eyes—and not just metaphorically.

Beyond the countless other benefits to the body that come with eating healthy, proper nutrition also helps support overall eye health and may provide protective benefits against cataract formation.

This is why it is important to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In particular, antioxidant-rich foods such as leafy greens, berries, and citrus fruits, may help protect against cataract formation.

Additionally, consider incorporating foods high in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and lutein/zeaxanthin.

Lose the Booze

While the reasoning behind it is still not fully understood, excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with an increased risk of cataracts.

Factors that could play as pieces of the puzzle in how excessive drinking contributes to a higher risk for cataracts include dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic changes, oxidative stress, and impact on liver function.

To lower the risk of the development of cataracts, limit alcohol intake and avoid excessive drinking.

Stop Smoking

On top of all of the negative health effects already associated with smoking, smoking has also been linked to an increased risk of cataracts.

Much like the connection of excessive alcohol to cataracts, the exact mechanisms through which smoking contributes to cataract formation are not fully understood.

However, several possible explanations have been suggested related to impaired blood flow, accelerated aging, reduced antioxidant levels, and oxidative stress.

If you smoke, quitting or avoiding smoking can reduce your risk for developing cataracts, as well as prevent a plethora of other health complications.

Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to Danger— Protect Your Peepers

Always remember to take proper precautions to protect those precious peepers from potential injury or trauma.

Physical trauma to the eye, such as a blunt impact or penetrating injury, as well as exposure to certain chemicals or substances, such as toxins, pollutants, or irritants, can have detrimental effects on the eyes and increase the risk of developing cataracts.

When participating in sports, working in certain occupations, and engaging in activities that pose a risk to your eyes, make it a point to wear protective eyewear.

This also applies when encountering any toxic chemical or substance that could possibly come into contact with your eyes. Wear gloves and safety goggles while handling these chemicals and always refrain from touching your eyes.

Look Up Locations Near You—Get Regular Eye Exams and Check-Ups with Your Eye Doctor

The truth is that no one knows more about eyes than ophthalmologists.

Regardless of whether you are experiencing eye complications or not, it is vital to schedule routine comprehensive eye examinations to monitor your eye health.

Early detection and timely treatment of any eye conditions can help prevent or delay the progression of cataracts.

Treating Cataracts—What are the Options?

While the above tips can help lower the risk of developing cataracts, as well as slow down the progression of already formed cataracts, they do not serve as a substitute for treatment for cataracts.

Cataract Surgery

The primary and most effective treatment for cataracts is surgery.

Cataract surgery consists of removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).

This procedure is highly effective and has a high success rate.                                                                           

While cataract surgery is a safe and routine procedure with a high success rate in improving vision, like any surgery, it carries some risks.

Your ophthalmologist will assess your individual case, discuss the potential benefits and risks, and provide personalized guidance throughout the process.

Point your eyes forward to a brighter and clearer future! 

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The Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation

We are proud to be the very FIRST stairlift company to earn the Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation. It is yet another effort that continues to prove that Acorn Stairlifts is a pioneer in the industry, always striving to stay ahead of the game, and to help our customers by providing the absolute best solution for their needs.

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