The lens can swell and become less flexible
Due to differences in culture, environment, and overall lifestyle compared to other ethnic groups, South Asians are disproportionally more vulnerable to certain health conditions.
For instance, a previous post highlights common diseases in the South Asian community, starting with type 2 diabetes, which affects how the body regulates insulin levels and breaks down sugar in the blood.
Aside from lifestyle and cultural differences, the genetic possibility of South Asians having higher insulin concentration than Caucasians after ingesting sugar can also explain this diabetes risk.
Furthermore, diabetes can be linked to various complications, including cataract formation.
As diabetes prevalence continues to rise among Indians, in particular, there needs to be a closer look at how this relates to this group’s vulnerability to developing cataracts and which eye care tips can help prevent and manage this risk.
Why Indians are at a higher risk of cataract formation
As previously mentioned, the risk of cataracts can be attributed to increased diabetes prevalence among Indians.
Since high blood sugar levels in diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the eye, it can cause structural changes in the lens.
The lens can swell and become less flexible, leading to the formation of cataracts that cloud or blur the vision.
In fact, a study in the journal Scientific Reports found that older Indians with diabetes have a significant risk of developing eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma.
Specifically, the prevalence of cataracts and glaucoma among older diabetic adults (29%) is higher than the risk among their non-diabetic counterparts.
Such findings urge Indians diagnosed with or at risk of diabetes to consult with medical professionals about potential eye problems for the early detection and prevention of cataracts.
However, other studies have also linked cataracts to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.
This entails various lifestyle approaches to manage cataract risk and protect overall eye health.
How to reduce the risk of developing cataracts
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Since diabetes can be a risk factor for cataract formation, ensure that your diet is healthy and nutritionally balanced to better manage blood sugar levels and avoid affecting the eye’s blood vessels.
Fortunately, Indian dietary patterns can be adjusted to lower your sugar consumption and instead focus on essential nutrients like fibre and protein.
For example, you can replace regular wheat roti with ragi and barley rotis to boost fullness and limit your overall calorie intake for diabetes management.
Wear sunglasses for UV protection
Sun protection is also essential to reducing the UV-related risk of cataracts.
So, wear sunglasses outdoors – not just in the summer, but all year round – to minimise direct contact between UV rays and your eyes.
Regardless of your budget, eyewear retailer Glasses Direct and brand London Retro offer affordable, high-quality frames in a wide range of styles, from the minimalist shape of Taylor to the transparent acetate material of Finchley.
Meanwhile, those willing to splurge more on stylish sunglasses can get them from luxury brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley.
You can also get sunglasses with prescription lenses; just ensure that your pair has maximum UV protection.
Use safety eyewear to prevent eye injuries
Cataracts can also be caused by an injury or trauma to the eye.
Take preventive measures by using safety glasses in workplaces with potential eye hazards, such as construction sites where dust, debris, and other projectiles may cut or scrape the eye.
In partnership with Asda Opticians, personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturer Globus Group has developed Riley prescription safety glasses to help workers correct their vision and protect their eyes at the same time.
Designed for various industries, this high-performance safety eyewear can eliminate the need to wear glasses underneath protective goggles, ensuring eye health and safety in the workplace.
Eye care should continue beyond awareness of eye conditions like cataracts.
You can integrate the tips mentioned above into your daily routine to reduce disease risk and maintain optimal eye health.