Cataracts is an eye disease where the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, causing a decrease in vision. For perfect vision to occur, the lens of the eye should be clear so that light can pass through and reach the retina. When the lens becomes cloudy, light cannot pass through, and the vision becomes dim or blurred.
A 2009 survey published on the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found out that cataract was the commonest cause of blindness among the Nigerian population. According to reports, the prevalence of cataract in Nigeria is over 100,000 cases per year.
Cataracts mostly develop naturally with age, such that 65 years of age; many people will most likely develop a cataract. Despite this, certain things can reduce your likelihood of developing cataracts as you age. This article discusses how to prevent cataract as you age.
Keep your blood sugar level normal
High blood sugar levels tend to alter the chemistry and structure of the lens in the eye, making it less transparent and leading to cataracts. So, if you can keep your blood sugar levels within normal, even as you age, you will have less tendency to develop cataracts.
Cataract is one of the complications that results from diabetes mellitus, ghetto condition is known as diabetic cataract. You should reduce thus, reduce your risk of becoming diabetic and hence, prevent cataract.
Mind the medications you use
Excessive and long term use of drugs containing steroids can lead to the early formation of cataracts. This also includes the use of skin bleaching products as their active ingredients are usually steroids. Corticosteroids are also said for cause cataracts.
Avoid eye injuries
Any form of trauma to the eye can disrupt the makeup of the lens and over time, lead to the formation of cataracts. Appropriate management of eye trauma no matter how minor can help in preventing cataracts down the line. Cataracts caused by trauma are called trauma cataracts.
Quit smoking, tobacco use and moderate alcohol consumption
Research has shown that excessive alcohol consumption and smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts. Thus, avoiding smoking and reduced alcohol intake is sure to reduce your chance of having cataracts. One study also stated that tobacco use can cause cataract.
Adjust your food
Diets rich in vitamin A, C and E, and phytochemicals such as lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a reduced chance of developing cataracts. They can be found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and colourful fruits. Also, consumption of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a reduced risk of cataracts. While diets high in carbohydrates and salt are associated with the development of cataracts.
Wear sunglasses under the sun
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight may contribute to the development of cataracts. So wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays when you’re outdoors can reduce the risk of cataract development. It is also important that persons that work with arc welding light use the appropriate eye protection while working. Arc welding light is associated with the formation of cataracts.
Watch your weight
Obesity is also associated with cataracts. Thus, it is essential to maintain your weight within an acceptable BMI (body mass index).
What is the cost of cataract surgery in Nigeria?
Cataract surgery is the most common treatment for cataracts in Nigeria. In the cataract surgery procedure, the lens of the eye is removed and, most times, replaced it with an artificial lens. The cost of cataract surgery in Nigeria varies depending on the type of cataracts surgery, the expertise of the surgeon and the place where it is been done.
The price of cataract surgery in Nigeria ranges from as low as ₦50,000 to as high as ₦500,000.
Cataract is among the common eye diseases in Nigeria. Following through with these suggestions may not totally eliminate your risk of having cataracts when older, but it will definitely reduce your chances of having it as you age.