As a long-haul truck driver, your eyes are your livelihood. However, as you age, cataracts can become a common problem and impact your ability to drive. A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. While they are typically part of the natural aging process, let’s take a “look” at ways to prevent or slow the onset of cataracts.

Dr. John’s “Big 5” – Keep an “Eye” on Cataracts

• Eat a healthy diet! Nutrition is important, not only for your eyes, but your overall health. Studies have shown that foods high in antioxidants may decrease the development or progression of cataracts. Be sure to load up on vitamin C foods including strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, citrus (such as orange and grapefruit) and cantaloupe. In addition, consumption of fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, also has been linked to potentially reducing your risk of cataracts.

• Get annual eye exams. This is especially important as you age. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and regular eye exams can detect the slightest protein buildup in your eye. If you have blurry or hazy vision, color issues, light sensitivity and/or night vision changes, be sure to set up an appointment and talk to your eye doctor:

• Manage your chronic health problems. You can reduce your risk of eye problems by taking care of your body. Some chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension are associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts. In addition, obesity is also linked to cataracts, so maintain a healthy weight.

• Wear sunglasses. Did you know the sun and snow can harm your eyes? Exposing your unprotected eyes to UV rays can damage your vision and cause a number of eye issues. Studies also suggest that 20% of cataracts may be caused by overexposure to UV radiation and are therefore avoidable. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses when outdoors and driving. Yellow lenses/glasses can be obtained as a prescription or over the counter. In addition, they protect the eye from further UV damage. These work well with early cataracts to reduce glare day and night. My yellow glasses help me loose less golf balls while out on the course!

• Stop smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to develop cataracts than nonsmokers. Vaping is NOT a healthy alternative! Many of the chemicals in e-cigarette liquid have been linked to increased risks of vision and other life-threatening diseases. Smoking is the most preventable cause of vision loss, because we can control whether or not we do it. It’s never too late to quit. If you need resources to help you quit smoking, Dr. John’s Medical would be happy to offer suggestions. In addition, we can help you kick the habit with our Chantix program. Call Dr. John’s Medical at (865) 438-0184.

Lastly, remember that surgery can get rid of cataracts. Cataract surgery is relatively safe and corrects vision problems allowing you to get back on the road. The average cataract surgery ranges from $3,600 –$6,000 per eye. The cost of your procedure will depend on the type of lens used during your operation, the style of technology used, and the surgeon’s charges. Dr. John’s Medical is committed to helping you get the medical services you need at the price you can afford. Call us today and “see” how we can help.