People can delay the onset of cataract through taking adequate precautions even though the eye disease is largely inevitable with old age, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Generally, most people who live into their 70s and beyond are likely to develop cataract at some point of their lifetime. However, the age of developing cataract can be delayed through properly addressing the risk factors and taking enough precautions.

To achieve this, people need to be made aware of the risks and symptoms of cataract and provided information about the things they can do to delay its onset. The AAO says that patients must also be advised on the correct time for a surgical correction of cataract.

The risk factors for cataract include hereditary causes, diabetes, smoking, extensive exposure to sunlight, serious eye injury or inflammation, and prolonged use of steroids, especially combined use of oral and inhaled steroids.

Diabetes is a leading cause for the early onset of cataract and experts suggest blood sugar control through diet, exercise and, if needed, via medications. The risk of early cataract can also be lowered by wearing UV-rated sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors.

AAO experts also suggest that everyone should get a baseline eye screening exam done at the age of 40, when early signs of cataract and vision change may begin to occur. Once diagnosed, patients can consider surgery that now has a more than 95% success rate.

Before going taking the surgical route for cataract correction, patients should inform the surgeon about any drugs like Flomax, Hytrin, Uroxatral or Cardura that they are taking because these can cause the iris to move out of its normal position, leading to problems during cataract surgery.

The surgeons should also be provided information about the patient’s history with procedures such as LASIK or other laser refractive surgery. Providing these details can help the surgeon decide on the best pre-surgery vision correction procedure and to adjust their surgical technique.