Will Your Sunglasses Protect Against Cataracts? — by Dr. Victor Marchione
Are your sunglasses up to date? And I don’t mean are they the latest in sunglass trends…
Whether or not your sunglasses provide sufficient UV protection may make a difference in whether you develop cataracts.
If you haven’t already had cataract surgery, you have more than a one in two chance of developing a cataract by the time you’re 80 years old.
And unfortunately, to date, surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. Which means prevention is your best option.
One of the best ways to help prevent cataract development and even slow their growth is to wear sunglasses (or a hat with a wide brim) every time you go outside. But unless your sunglasses have good UV protection, they’re basically useless.
When buying sunglasses, it’s tempting to just grab the least expensive pair. But consider how expensive cataract surgery can be, and how much you value your vision. Spend a little bit extra and make sure your sunglasses have good UV protection.
A label on the lens, or attached to the glasses should clearly indicate that they offer both UVA and UVB protection. And you really do need both.
Unfortunately labeling is voluntary, but if there is a label, you want to see that at least 60% of UVA rays are blocked, and that at least 70% of UVB rays are as well.
Aside from putting on a pair of ‘shades’ when you go outside there are a couple of other things you can do to help prevent cataracts.
The first and foremost is — if you smoke — stop! There are so many health reasons to stop smoking, and here’s one more. Researchers believe that smoking plays a part in the cause cataracts. So add “vision-loss” to the long list of health issues that may pop-up if you’re a smoker.
Diet is the other potential guiding factor. And just like smoking, so many health issues come back to having a good diet.
Researchers also suggest that a diet full of leafy greens and fruit will help slow the onset of cataracts thanks to the antioxidants found in them.
And don’t forget — the next time you head out, make sure you’ve got your shades on!