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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.

References:

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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