Cataracts, or cloudy areas in the lens of the eye, are common for senior citizens. Often frustrating and sometimes debilitating, cataracts gradually increase the difficulty of reading, driving a car, and other visual activities. The main risk factor associated with cataracts is a patient’s age, which is why cataracts are so common for seniors. However, there are a few factors that will increase the risk of early-onset cataracts and speed their development. These factors include:
Smokers have less resistance to the free radicals that are responsible for cataract development. It is estimated that 20% of all cataracts cases in the United States are caused by smoking cigarettes. A Harvard Medical School study found that smokers faced a 200% increased risk of developing a posterior subcapsular cataract and a 100% increased risk of developing a nuclear sclerosis cataract.
Alcoholics are at a significantly increased risk of developing cataracts. This is due in part to alcohol affecting the proteins in the lens and in part due to the eye being unable to absorb the nutrients it requires. Studies, however, have found that moderate intake of red wine may decrease the risk of cataracts due to the wine’s antioxidants.
High glucose (blood sugar) levels are known to cause a myriad of vision problems, including blindness and cataracts. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in patients ages 20 to 74.
Eye Care Associates of St. Louis can restore your vision with state-of-the-art cataract surgery. Our cataract specialist, Dr. Sean Breit, is an expert in premium intraocular lenses and will help you decide which modern lens implant best suits your needs. For patients without cataracts who are looking for better vision without glasses or contact lenses, our practice also offers refractive surgery with LASIK specialist, Dr. Stephen Wexler. Call us with your questions or to make an appointment with our ophthalmologists at (314) 863-4200.