February 16, 2017

Senior Sight: Six Ways to Manage Life with Cataracts

Being diagnosed with cataracts can be scary. Cataracts cause clouding of the lens in the eye, and this can create glare, cause blur, and reduce vision. Many people are naturally very concerned about anything that can decrease sight. Here are five key ways to manage life with cataracts.

Old Man

Make Sure Eyewear is Up to Date

Cataracts often cause prescription changes. Old prescriptions may not correct vision properly. Keep your glasses and contact lens prescriptions up to date for the best vision possible. Vision changes will be continuous as long the cataract continues to develop, so schedule regular appointments with your optometrist.

Maintain Glucose Levels

Managing healthy blood glucose levels is a very overlooked method for slowing or preventing cataract development. Be aware of your blood sugar levels, and try to maintain low levels of sugar ingestion. High glucose concentrations can damage proteins, thereby contributing to eye tissue degradation.

Choose a Non-Glare Coating

Many cataract patients experience glare around lights, especially at nighttime. If headlights or other light sources are bothersome, make sure there is a non-glare or anti-reflective coating on glasses. This coating reduces reflections that can contribute to glare, and it allows more light through the lens. Choosing low-intensity lights in your home can also increase your comfort.

Select a Contrast Enhancing Tint

Tints on eyewear that block the blue end of the light spectrum enhance contrast and allow better vision. Many cataract patients are more comfortable with a brown or amber tint. Some people find that an orange or even yellow tint helps improve vision. Most opticians have different tint samples so that people can see which color works best for them.

Increase the Print Size

There are a number of ways to increase print size to make reading easier. On computers, tablets, and e-readers like the Kindle, simply increase the font size. Some people will take a snapshot with their cell phones and then enlarge the picture. Other seniors carry a low-powered lighted magnifier to provide both light and magnification. Usually, a 2.5X or 3X lighted magnifier is helpful. Higher-powered magnifiers are harder to use, and most people typically need some advice from a low-vision professional to use these magnifiers correctly.

Consider Cataract Removal

When cataracts reach the point where it affects a person’s ability to do normal activities like reading or driving, it may be time to consider cataract surgery. Many patients decide to have cataracts removed when they experience debilitating glare while driving or have trouble reading normal print. Removing the cataracts surgically will cure the condition, and this is virtually the only medical option for treating cataracts.

Seniors with cataracts don’t have to suffer. Good eyewear with a contrast-enhancing tint and non-glare coating can help patients see better. Lighted magnifiers increase print size for more comfortable reading. Surgery to remove the cloudy lens will often improve vision when other methods no longer work. Contact an eye care professional today for more information on how to manage cataracts.

: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.

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