If your parents or grandparents have cataracts, then you are at an increased risk of also developing them as you age. You can't change your genetics or prevent yourself from getting older, but there are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk of cataracts. The earlier you start implementing these lifestyle changes, the better.
Keep your blood pressure under control.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can contribute to the development of cataracts. Since high blood pressure usually causes no symptoms, a lot of patients have it for a while before it is diagnosed. Visit your doctor to have your blood pressure taken. If you have high blood pressure, take action to reduce it by getting more exercise, losing weight (if needed) and reducing your salt intake. If your physician recommends a medication to keep your blood pressure in check, take it as instructed, both to protect your heart and your eyes.
If you're not a smoker, don't start. If you are a smoker, do all that you can to quit. Smoking doubles your chances of developing cataracts. If you're having trouble quitting, try seeking out support groups in your area. Talking to others who are quitting can help you get the motivation you need to kick this habit. The people you meet at the support group may also be able to give you tips for using nicotine patches and other aids to your advantage as you quit.
Wear your sunglasses.
Even if you feel like the sun does not "bother" your eyes, you should get into the habit of always wearing sunglasses when you go outside and when you drive. UV rays from the sun contribute to the development of cataracts, and shielding your eyes will help prevent you from developing them. Consider visiting your eye doctor and investing in a comfortable pair of custom-made sunglasses. If you love the way they look and feel on your face, you'll be more likely to wear them.
Keep your weight under control.
Obesity is a risk factor for cataracts. Obesity or being overweight also increases your risk of diabetes, which is another risk factor for cataracts. If you are overweight, consider working with a physical trainer or dietitian to devise a diet and exercise program to help you lose weight in a healthy manner. If you're at a healthy weight, make sure you're staying active and eating healthy foods so you don't gain weight.
For more tips for reducing your risk of cataracts, speak with your eye doctor. If you have any questions about your local optometrist options, click here for more info.