Lowering Your Risk

There are several things you can do to lower your risk for cataract. They include

  • having regular eye exams
  • quitting smoking
  • wearing sunglasses
  • taking care of other health problems
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • choosing a healthy diet.

Get Regular Eye Exams

Be sure to have regular comprehensive eye exams. If you are age 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Eye exams can help detect cataracts and other age-related eye problems at their earliest stages. In addition to cataract, your eye care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders. For many eye diseases, early treatment may save your sight.

For more on comprehensive eye exams, see the chapter on Symptoms and Detection.

Quit Smoking

Ask your doctor for help to stop smoking. Medications, counseling and other strategies are available to help you.

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.

Take Care of 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 your current weight is a healthy one, 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

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 a lot of vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which in theory could prevent damage to your eye's lens. Studies haven't proven that antioxidants in pill form can prevent cataracts. But fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the amount of vitamins in your diet.