PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
It's not clear what causes cataracts, but doctors think you may be able to reduce your risk of cataracts if you:
- Have regular eye exams. Eye exams can help detect cataracts and other eye problems at their earliest stages. Ask your doctor how often you should have an eye exam.
- Quit smoking. Ask your doctor for help to stop smoking. Medications, counseling and other strategies are available to help you.
- Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to the development of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays when you're outdoors.
- Take care of other health problems. Follow your treatment plan if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that can increase your risk of cataracts.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is a healthy one, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you're overweight or obese, work to lose weight slowly by reducing your calorie intake and increasing the amount of exercise you get each day.
- Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you're getting a lot of vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which in theory could prevent damage to your eye's lens. Studies haven't proven that antioxidants in pill form can prevent cataracts. But fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the amount of vitamins in your diet.
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- Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 24, 2010.