Eye Disease: 2 Reasons You May Have An Increased Risk And How You Can Prevent And Treat Them

Posted on: 28 March 2016

It is important to take care of your vision so you can have the use of your eyes your entire life. There are many factors throughout your life that can affect your vision and put the health of your eyes at risk. Here are two reasons you may have an increased risk for eye disease, and how to prevent and treat them.

You are Diabetic

Whether you have type one or type two diabetes and you don't manage your blood sugar to keep it in a healthy range, you may have health complications with your eyes. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels in your body can result in excess pressure inside your eye, causing glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes is actually the leading cause of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 74.

Cataracts occur when proteins in the lens of your eye clump together, preventing light from passing through, and causing a blurred spot in your vision. Cataracts usually occur in older adults, but diabetes can cause them to form in your eyes earlier and faster. Glaucoma damages the nerves and blood vessels when the fluid pressure builds up in your eyes from elevated blood glucose levels. 

Preventing glaucoma and cataracts as a diabetic consists of controlling your blood sugar. It is recommended to check your blood glucose level often and aim to keep it less than 100 when you wake up in the morning and below 180 two hours after a meal.

Because diabetics with eye complications can have both cataracts and glaucoma occurring at the same time, they can have both treated together in surgery. During cataract eye surgery, your doctor will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens. Then, your doctor can place an eye stent in each eye to reduce and regulate your eye pressure. The stent allows fluids building up inside your eye to drain from your eye.

You Eat an Unhealthy Diet

If you do not have diabetes, you can still be at a higher risk of having cataracts when you don't eat a healthy diet. A ten-year study followed female health professionals and their dietary habits. The study found that the participants who had higher intakes of vitamin E, lutein, vitamin C, and zeaxanthin had a decreased risk for cataracts. Eating foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, kale, and other green-leaf vegetables can help decrease your risk.

A study in 2011 at the University of Oxford studied the risk rating of people who develop cataracts and their diets. The researchers found those with the highest risk of having cataracts ate the most meat, of nearly four ounces each day. The risk for cataracts decreased as the level of meat they ate decreased; vegetarians and vegans had the lowest risk for cataracts. The researchers in this study suggested those who ate less meat ate more vegetables, increasing their intake of these types of nutrient-rich foods.

Researchers have also linked the formation of cataracts to oxidation stress. Oxidation stress occurs in your eyes when free radicals steal electrons from your eye's healthy cells, causing damage. Free radicals can come from pollution, unhealthy foods, and UV radiation. You can help prevent cataracts by eating a diet high in antioxidant vitamins, such as found in vegetables and fruits. A study in Sweden in 2014 found that women whose diets contained the highest total antioxidant capacity from foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and coffee, were less likely to develop cataracts. 

Eating a daily diet of five to nine servings of dark green and colorful fruits and vegetables, at least three daily servings of whole grains, and two weekly servings of fish can help prevent the formation of cataracts. But, if you do get cataracts later in life, you can wear stronger prescription glasses or have cataract surgery, which leaves nine out of ten patients seeing with very good vision again.

Use this information to help keep your eyes healthy. Check out a site like http://www.checdocs.org if you would like more information.