Cataracts (Holistic)Skip to the navigation
About This Condition
Keep your lenses clear by limiting the damage that causes cataracts, a condition that produces cloudiness in the eyes. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Cataract is a cloudiness in the lens of the eye caused by damage to the protein of the lens. This damage impairs vision.
Most people who live long enough will develop cataracts.1 Cataracts are more likely to occur in those who smoke, have diabetes , or are exposed to excessive sunlight. All of these factors lead to oxidative damage. Oxidative damage to the lens of the eye appears to cause cataracts in animals2 and people.3
It is unlikely that any nutritional supplements or herbs can reverse existing cataracts, although it is possible they might help prevent cataracts from becoming worse.
Cataracts usually develop slowly without any pain or redness of the eye. The most common symptoms of a cataract are fuzzy or blurred vision, increasing need for light when reading or doing other close work, visual disturbances caused by bright lights (e.g., sunlight, car headlights), faded color perception, poor night vision, and frequent need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. A cataract will not spread from one eye to the other, although many people develop cataracts in both eyes.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Obese men are significantly more likely to develop a cataract than are men of normal body weight.4 To date, most,5 , 6 , 7 , 8 but not all,9 , 10 population studies have found an increased risk of cataracts as body mass increases.
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1. Kahn HA, Leibowitz HM, Ganley JP, et al. The Framingham Eye Study: I. Outline and major prevalence findings. Am J Epidemiol 1977;106:17-32.
2. Schocket SS, Esterson J, Bradford B, et al. Induction of cataracts in mice by exposure to oxygen. Isr J Med Sci 1972;8:1596-601.
3. Palmquist B, Phillipson B, Barr P. Nuclear cataract and myopia during hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Br J Ophthalmol 1984;68:113-7.
4. Schaumberg DA, Glynn RJ, Christen WG, et al. Relations of body fat distribution and height with cataracts in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:1495-502.
5. Glynn RJ, Christen WG, Manson JE, et al. Body mass index. An independent predictor of cataract. Arch Ophthalmol 1995;113:1131-7.
6. Hankinson SE, Seddon JM, Colditz GA, et al. A prospective study of aspirin use and cataract extraction in women. Arch Ophthalmol 1993;111:503-8.
7. Hiller R, Podgor MJ, Sperduto RD, et al. A longitudinal study of body mass index and lens opacities. The Framingham Studies. Ophthalmology 1998;105:1244-50.
8. Tavani A, Negri E, La Vecchia C. Selected diseases and risk of cataract in women. A case-control study from northern Italy. Ann Epidemiol 1995;5:234-8.
9. Leske MC, Chylack LT Jr, Wu SY. The Lens Opacities Case-Control Study. Risk factors for cataract. Arch Ophthalmol 1991;109:244-51.
10. Mohan M, Sperduto RD, Angra SK, et al. India-US case-control study of age-related cataracts. India-US Case-Control Study Group. Arch Ophthalmol 1989;107:670-6. [published erratum appears in Arch Ophthalmol 1989;107:1288.]
Last Review: 06-08-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.
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