The lens of the eye sends a picture onto the retina at the back of the eye. The retina makes sense of it and sends messages to the brain. A cataract is a clouding of the lens. This causes blurry eyesight. You may also not be able to see colors the right way if it turns yellow.
This is common in older adults. It is treated with surgery.
There is little data that natural therapies help. But some people take pills to try to stop cataracts or to keep them from getting worse.
- Daily multivitamins A3, A6, A7
Unlikely to Be Effective
- Antioxidants (such as beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium alone or together)A1, A2, A4, A5, A8
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.
A1. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Chew EY, et al. Vitamin E and age-related cataract in a randomized trial of women. Ophthalmology. 2008;115(5):822–829.
A2. Sesso HD, Buring JE, Christen WG, et al. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2008;300(18):2123–2133.
A3. A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial of multivitamin supplementation for age-related lens opacities clinical trial of nutritional supplements and age-related cataract. Report Number 3. Ophthalmology. 2008;115:599-607.e1.
A4. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Sesso HD, et al. Age-related cataract in a randomized trial of vitamins E and C in men. Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128(11):1397-1405.
A5. Mathew MC, Ervin AM, et al. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation for preventing and slowing the progression of age-related cataract. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jun 13;(6):CD004567.
A6. Zhao LQ, Li M, et al. The effect of multivitamin/mineral supplements on age-related cataracts: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2014 Feb 28;6(3):931-949.
A7. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, et al. Effects of multivitamin supplement on cataract and age-related macular degeneration in a randomized trial of male physicians. Ophthalmology. 2014 Feb;121(2):525-534.
A8. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, et al. Age-related cataract in men in the selenium and vitamin e cancer prevention trial eye endpoints study: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Jan;133(1):17-24.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD Last Updated: 3/2/2019