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Reducing Your Risk of Cataracts

Approximately half of all Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 have cataracts. At this time, there is no definitive way to prevent age-related cataracts, but early diagnosis improves treatment outcomes. So, if you are over age 60, you should have an eye examination at least once every 1-2 years. You should have an eye examination more often if you have any additional risk factors for cataracts, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases
  • Any medical condition that requires you to take steroid medications for a long period of time
  • A family history of cataracts or other eye diseases

Note: These are general guidelines. Follow the advice of your doctor when deciding how often to get your eyes examined.

The following measures may help reduce your risk of cataracts:

  • Follow your treatment plan to manage chronic conditions.
  • Avoiding excess exposure to radiation.
  • Avoiding excess exposure to sunlight. Wear a hat and UVA/UVB-blocking sunglasses whenever in bright sunlight.
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to quit.
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Wear protective eyewear when participating in sports to help avoid eye injury.
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References:

Cataract. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract?sso=y. Accessed May 10, 2017.
Cataracts. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/cataracts-2. Updated November 20, 2015. Accessed May 10, 2017.
Cataracts in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.
Facts about cataract. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed May 10, 2017.
What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts. Updated November 15, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.
What is a cataract? NIH Senior Health website. Available at: https://nihseniorhealth.gov/cataract/whatisacataract/01.html. Updated January 2013. Accessed May 10, 2017.
Last reviewed May 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

 

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