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Save Your Sight: Preventing Cataracts and Vision Loss

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sight is one of our most precious senses and you would probably do whatever you can to keep your vision if you knew you were in danger of losing it. In observation of Cataract Awareness Month in June, we’re offering important tips on how to prevent vision loss and the development of cataracts.

Cataracts – the clouding of the eye’s natural lens – are the most common cause of vision loss in adults over the age of 40. Cataract risk factors include ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking and family history.  While there is controversy on what actually prevents cataracts, studies suggest a healthy diet intake of vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of cataracts. Good sources of these vitamins include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, kale and other green, leafy vegetables.  Wearing protective sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays may also prevent the development of cataracts.
Even if you show no signs of vision loss, regular eye exams are recommended, especially for those with diabetes and high blood pressure. Make an appointment with your provider for an eye exam to screen for health conditions that may affect your eyesight in the future. Early detection and treatment are critical in preventing vision loss.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, visit your primary care physician to investigate them further:

  • Unusual trouble adjusting to dark room
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects
  • Squinting or blinking due to unusual sensitivity to light or glare
  • Change in color of iris
  • Red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen lids
  • Recurrent pain in or around eyes
  • Double vision
  • Dark spot at the center of vision
  • Excess tearing or “watery eyes”
The following may be indications of serious problems and may need immediate medical attention:
  • Sudden loss of vision in one eye
  • Sudden hazy or blurred vision
  • Flashes of light or black spots
  • Halos or rainbows around light
  • Loss of peripheral vision
For more information on cataract and vision loss prevention, visit http://www.preventblindness.org/. Call Arizona Priority Care’s ophthalmologist provider, Southwest Eye Center, to schedule a diabetic retinal eye exam near you at (480) 854-8185.