An astonishing 90 percent of folks will have the beginnings of cataracts by age 65, without even realizing it! Luckily, a few tricks protect your eyes and ward off age-related vision loss:
Put on cheap sunglasses.
Research finds that wearing them even on overcast days cuts the risk of cataracts in half by blocking UVB, the specific type of ultraviolet ray that harms eyes.
“We can get tricked into thinking it’s not bright enough for sunglasses, but there’s plenty of UVB coming through the clouds,” explains James M. Stringham, Ph.D., a researcher at Duke Eye Center.
His fix: dollar-store sunglasses, which block 98 percent or more of cataract-triggering rays-every bit as effective as glasses costing hundreds! Tip: Lighter-tinted lenses are just as effective.
Cozy up with comfort foods.
Scientists recently found that eating just one brightly colored fruit or veggie with every meal delays the onset of cataracts by a decade and cuts the likelihood you’ll ever need cataract surgery in half. Delicious sweet-potato fries, tomato-rich lasagna, and pumpkin pie all have the protective benefits!
“Carotenoids are pigments that give fruit and vegetables their vibrant color,” says Dr. Stringham. “They are some of nature’s best antioxidants, and if you eat a couple of servings a day ‘from the rainbow,’ you will experience major benefits to visual health. Bright hues — think beets, carrots, apples — signal the most eye-protective nutrients.”
Enjoy some coffee talk.
Turning your next Zoom meetup into a coffee break will slash your risk of age-related vision loss and cataracts.
The intriguing reason: Not only are antioxidants and polyphenols in the caffeinated brew shown to block protein buildup involved in cataracts by 44 percent, researchers found that “face to face” meetings — even online — alert our brains to subtle changes in our vision, helping us catch them before they escalate.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.