Although surgery is the only treatment that will cure a cataract, there are some measures that may help control some symptoms of cataracts. Some of these measures may also help slow cataracts from developing.
General Guidelines for Managing Cataracts
Wear the glasses or contact lenses you have been prescribed. Or, you can try reading with a magnifying glass. Also, wearing ultraviolet (UV)A- and UVB-blocking sunglasses can help reduce glare and bright sunlight that affects people with cataracts.
Limit your driving at night, when it may be more difficult to see.
Wearing a hat can also protect your eyes from sunlight, glare, and fluorescent light.
Avoiding fluorescent light can help reduce glare that causes vision difficulty for some people with cataracts. Improve the lighting in your home and reduce glare by using brighter bulbs and special lamps.
Some nutritional supplements, such as antioxidant multivitamins, might help slow the progression of cataracts. A daily multivitamin is good for your general health as well. Talk to you doctor about which nutritional supplements are appropriate for you.
When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider
You should contact your eye doctor and discuss having surgery for cataracts when your vision difficulties get to the point where:
Cataract surgery is much safer and more successful than in the past. Today, some eye doctors and surgeons recommend having cataract surgery sooner rather than later because delaying the surgery may make it more difficult to perform. Removing a cataract is rarely an emergency. It should not be performed until you feel ready to have the surgery.
Cataract. American Optometric Association website. Available at: http://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 UK 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. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed May 10, 2017.
What are cataracts? American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/cataracts/index.cfm. Updated November 15, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.
What is a cataract? NIH Senior Health website. Available at: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/cataract/whatisacataract/01.html. Updated January 2013. Accessed May 10, 2017.
Last reviewed May 2017 by Michael Woods, MD FAAP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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