A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

How Age and Lifestyle Impact Cataract Development

by Damion Wasylow 14 December 2023 19:55 PM

senior man squeezing bridge of nose under glasses
More than 24 million Americans
age 40 and older develop cataracts each year, with the likelihood of developing cataracts rising dramatically after age 60. And while it’s true that cataracts often develop naturally as we age, certain lifestyle choices can place you at increased risk.


It’s well-known that smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know it also impacts your eye health? Free radicals (unstable atoms) in cigarettes can damage your DNA, contributing to eye issues, including age-related macular degeneration, vision loss and, unfortunately, cataracts.

The World Health Organization even states that some e-cigarettes may also cause this same type of damage and increase your risk of eye cancer.

Alcohol Consumption

Studies show that heavy drinking can increase age-related cataracts. In fact, alcoholism is known to contribute to cataract development at a younger age.

While an occasional glass of wine is likely just fine, people who have more than two drinks daily are at increased risk of developing cataracts. If you drink heavily, you can add increased risk of cataracts to the long list of motivations to curb your drinking.

Sun Exposure

UV rays from the Sun can cause eye damage on a number of levels. In addition to increasing your risks for cataracts, you may experience a form of eye sunburn called photokeratitis, which will make your eyes red, painful, watery and overly sensitive to light.

One of the best things you can do to safeguard your eyes is to wear UV protective sunglasses when driving or participating in any outdoor activity for an extended period. A proper pair should be well-fitting and provide 99%+ UVA/UVB reduction.

Dietary Choices

Diet plays a major role in both your overall health and eye health. If your diet isn’t filled with good-for-you foods, you’re at a greater risk of cataracts.

Consuming proper amounts of vitamins C and E can slow cataract development. Blackberries, blueberries, avocados and mangos are just a few tasty sources of these vitamins and may also boost your immune system.

High blood sugar is another major contributor to eye-related issues, as the sugar can cause your eye’s lens to swell. This impairs vision and, if allowed to persist, increases the risk of cataracts.

If you believe you may have cataracts, or if it’s just been a while since you had a comprehensive eye exam, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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