Clear Insight: How to Prevent Cataracts

Clear Insight: How to Prevent Cataracts

When Little Red Riding Hood exclaimed, “My Grandma, what big eyes you have,” the Big Bad Wolf replied, “The better to see you with my dear.” “But, Grandma, I thought you had cataracts,” Red replied.  “I did,” said the BBW, “but I had LASIK surgery and I’m all better now.” That’s when Little Red Riding Hood realized this wasn’t her grandmother; everybody – except for a stupid wolf -- knows LASIK surgery corrects nearsightedness not cataracts! So Red ran out the door and was safe forever after. 

The moral of our story is that knowledge is power and can save you from losing your vision. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States and by 2020 more than 30 million of you will have to deal with the cloudy, color-distorted images cataracts cause. Luckily, cataract surgery, one of the most common surgeries done in the U.S., can replace your eye’s damaged lens with a permanent artificial one. It’s 100% effective over 96% of the time. 

But even better -- cataract prevention. The Nurses' Health Study (among others) revealed that women who ate a healthy diet, loaded with polyphenols (specifically leutin and zeaxanthin) from dark green vegetables, fruits, and whole grains were half as likely to develop cataracts as women who didn’t. We think it applies to men too! And while diabetes and spending time in the sun can contribute to cataract development, always wearing sunglasses and maintaining good glucose control can slow down their development. Ah! What good eyes you have!

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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