Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) report that more than 2.5-million Canadians have cataracts – a painless eye disorder that develops within the natural lenses of one or both of your eyes, either at the same or different times.
CNIB explains that it causes cloudy vision, which then blocks the light from reaching your retina and is often compared to as if one was looking through a dirty car windshield.
Marking June as the Cataract Awareness Month eye experts and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society want Canadians to start taking the lead on their eye health and get checked for the common eye disorder.
Dr. Rosa Braga-Mele, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto and director of cataract surgery at Kensington Eye Institute, says everyone actually gets cataracts at one point.
Braga-Mele says, “As a cataract progresses, then your activities of daily living become much more difficult.You try to optimize light to read and you can’t, or you try to use a magnifying glass because your regular reading glasses just won’t work anymore and there could be issues when you’re driving at night because there’s a glare around lights and it makes it more difficult to drive. It impacts every part of your life.”
You may not be able to lower your risk of getting cataracts, but there are some things you can do to prolong the progression, Braga-Mele explains.
First, wear sunglasses throughout the seasons (not just the summer) to protect your eyes.
Next, eat a healthy diet rich in lutein, which is known to help slow the progression of cataracts, Braga-Mele says. So eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, she adds.
And if you have an underlying health condition, make sure to keep on top of your medical care.
But if cataracts progress to a point where it becomes an issue for you, there is always cataract surgery. This is usually the case for those whose vision is borderline or may not meet the requirements for obtaining or keeping your driver’s licence, Braga-Mele says.