Sam McCain, the owner of Gill’s, gives us the lowdown on cataracts…

Cataracts. You will have heard of them, but do you really know what they are?

Even though the average interval between eye examinations for adults like me is every two years, I tend to get my eyes tested every 10 – 12 months. This is for a number of reasons, not least of which is because, being in the industry, naturally I understand the importance of an eye exam as part of your general healthcare regime. Personally I have a few minor issues regarding my eye health and vision that I feel warrant more regular examinations. One of these issues is what we call ‘Early central lens changes’. Basically, I have the starts of cataracts in both eyes. This was first discovered two years ago when I was (cough cough) twenty-one forty-seven, which is a bit young…glad I’m a bit young for something!

The question we are most commonly asked regarding cataracts is ‘How long before I need to get them done?’ And the answer generally is ‘Pfft, who knows? Could be a year, could be thirty years.’ Now, we know that isn’t exactly helpful, but it is the truth. So many things can affect the formations of cataracts that it is nigh on impossible to tell how rapidly they will develop, but what we can do is monitor them for you. From our monitoring, the moment we see that they have reached a level where they are affecting your quality of vision, we can guide you through the simple process of having them removed, and restoring that wonderful clarity we cataracts-in-waiting people remember.

Whilst we can’t answer how long it is before you need to have your cataracts removed, we can give you lots of tips to slow their progression so you can enjoy your vision for longer.

Please try to do the following:

  • If you smoke, stop. I know, I know, it’s hard, I’ve been there. But if you get bad cataracts you won’t be able to see where you left your ciggies anyway.
  • Wear UV protecting sunglasses ALL YEAR. The sun doesn’t just pop out for two weeks in Ibiza, so neither should your sunglasses.
  • Try and eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables as they contain high levels of the deliciously-named carotenoids Lutein and Xeaxanthin*. If your eyeball was doing the shopping, it would pick spinach and kale. These nutrients are also found in cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna, in egg yolks and in orange peppers, amongst other vegetables and fruits.
  • Visit us regularly for your eyes to be examined. There is a very good reason why we call it an eye examination and not a sight test.

*Don’t panic, Lutein and Xeaxanthin supplements are also available to buy in practice.

By doing all of the above, not only will you be helping yourself to avoid cataracts, but you’ll be scoring some serious brownie points with your macula, too.

For more information on any of what I have discussed above, please feel free to contact the practice and we will gladly help you!

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