How to Prevent & Treat Cataracts as You Age

As you age, you will probably develop cataracts, but how can you prevent them? While cataracts manifest for a variety of reasons, the symptoms are a result of protein deposits on the lens of the eye that distort incoming light. This alters vision in a variety of ways including blurriness, double vision, color change, or progressive nearsightedness. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Smoking, ultraviolet radiation, hormone treatment, or physical damage to the eye are the primary external risk factors for cataracts. Internal causes like diabetes and obesity can contribute to development of the disease as well.

The older people get, the greater the chance they have been exposed to one or more of these causes. Eventually, the risk factors combine to such an extent that people will inevitably develop cataracts.


It may not be possible to do anything to prevent cataracts because there are so many causes. Avoiding the unnecessary causes such as smoking and obesity is the easiest way to prevent cataracts. However, there are also some nutritional factors that have been studied.


Mitochondria metabolism inflicts oxidative stress on cells. In the eye, this stress causes the proteins in the lens to become disorganized. A diet which enforces the antioxidant activity of vitamins E and C has been shown to protect the eyes from several diseases—including cataracts.

The journal, Archives of Ophthalmology, has found that ingestion of lutein and zeaxanthin reduces the risk of cataracts in women. While it is possible to take supplements of these nutrients, the best method to boost levels is to eat natural foods daily. This will give you the added benefits of fiber and other phytonutrients. Try eating cooked kale, spinach, or other greens every day as these foods have the highest concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin.


Unfortunately, the only treatment available is surgical removal. However, it is only necessary if the cataracts are distorting your vision to a degree that you can't live normally. If left untreated, the cataracts can cloud your eyes so much it prevents your doctor from properly examining them. In this case, they may recommend surgery even if you don't think it's necessary.

It may be inconvenient to go through the surgery, but it is an extremely safe and effective procedure most physicians have lots of experience at. If you are over the age of 65 and have noticed any changes in your vision, visit a clinic such as Focus West Optometry today.