Summer may keep the flowers blooming and the grass green but excessive exposure to sunlight causes damage to our eyes that we are unacquainted with. One such risk is that of developing cataract.
Cataract is a medical condition that is characterized by clouding of the lens of the eye. Lens is a part of the eye that is located behind the iris ( colored part of the eye).The word Cataract comes from the Greek word ‘katarraktes’ which means waterfall. It was believed that a part of the brain fluid would flow in front of the lens that diminishes the vision.
Cataract usually sets in when eyes age as the lens tends to loose its flexibility. The tissues present in the lens break down and clump together giving rise to the cloudy formation of the lens. But cataract can also be caused by excessive UV radiation from one of the hot sunny summer days.
Cataract has affected almost 20 million people worldwide of which 20 percent are caused by UV radiation from sun’s rays. Though various factors like diabetes, obesity, smoking, family history and excessive alcohol consumption can cause cataract; UV rays are also an addition to this list.
To avoid Cataract growth due to the summers, here are a few things one can do to protect themselves:
- Try staying out of the harsh sunlight i.e. from 10am until 1pm as it is the worst time of the day that has maximum amount of UV radiation throughout the say. Though some sunlight is good for the body (before 10am); but being in sunlight for longer period of time can cause more damage than good.
- If you are travelling or have an outdoor work, wear a wide brimmed hat that covers your face and your eyes. It decreases the direct sunlight exposure to your eyes and the UVB radiation as well as decreased. One can also try using an umbrella for the same reason.
- Invest in a good pair of sunglasses. It is always a must to have sunglasses that have UVA/UVB protective lens. They tend to block almost all of the UVA and UVB radiation that would enter the eye and damage the lens.
- If you spend more time outdoor like on a beach, consider sunglasses that have polarized lenses as these reduce the glare that is reflected from various surface and protect the eyes from further damage.
With few changes and additions in summer one can try and avoid cataract development. Cataract development due to UV radiation is a slow and long term process which if taken good care of can be prevented.
Cataract causes vision loss which is highly treatable thanks to the advancement in the field of Ophthalmology in areas of cataract surgery and intra-ocular lens that has made full restoration of vision possible. Cataract surgery is an hour long procedure with the actual intra-operative time being just 20 minutes. Patients resume their daily activities in no time.