No studies have proved how to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts. However, doctors think several strategies may be helpful, including:
July 30, 2013
- Have regular eye examinations. Eye examinations can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Ask your doctor how often you should have an eye examination.
- Quit smoking. Ask your doctor for suggestions about how to stop smoking. Medications, counseling and other strategies are available to help you.
- Reduce alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk of cataracts.
- Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to the development of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays when you're outdoors.
- Manage other health problems. Follow your treatment plan if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you currently have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you're overweight or obese, work to lose weight slowly by reducing your calorie intake and increasing the amount of exercise you get each day.
Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you're getting many vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have many antioxidants, which help maintain the health of your eyes.
Studies haven't proved that antioxidants in pill form can prevent cataracts. However, a large population study recently showed that a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals was associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the amount of minerals and vitamins in your diet.
- Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Cataract. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/cataract.xml. Accessed May 3, 2013.
- What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Cataract symptoms. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts-symptoms.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Cataract causes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts-cause.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Yanoff M, ed., et al. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-04332-8..00073-1--s0180&isbn=978-0-323-04332-8&sid=1438275868&uniqId=410656703-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-04332-8..00073-1--s0180. Accessed May 3, 2013.
- Cataract in the adult eye PPP. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://one.aao.org/ce/practiceguidelines/ppp_content.aspx?cid=a80a87ce-9042-4677-85d7-4b876deed276. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Jacobs DS. Cataract in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 3, 2013.
- Who is at risk for cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts-risk.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Cataract surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataract-surgery.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Cataract diagnosis. American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts-diagnosis.cfm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
- Knoop KJ. Slit lamp examination. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 7, 2013.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1793-8..00066-2--s0050&isbn=978-1-4377-1793-8&sid=1438276431&uniqId=410656703-5#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1793-8..00066-2--s0055. Accessed May 3, 2013.
- Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 11, 2013.
- Mares JA, et al. Healthy diets and the subsequent prevalence of nuclear cataract in women. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2010;128:738.
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