How to Prevent Cataracts Naturally

The world's leading cause of blindness is cataracts. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded. Responsible for letting light rays to pass onto the retina, the lens is a transparent structure mostly made up of water and protein fibers. When those fibers clump together, the lens loses its clarity, leading to blurred vision and, if left untreated, complete blindness.

Doctor examining a patient's eye
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Preventing Cataracts Naturally

Reducing your exposure to ultraviolet light, abstaining from cigarette-smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption all can help protect against cataract development. Here are three other possible ways to reduce your cataract risk naturally.

Fill Up on Antioxidants

In a 2008 study of 35,551 women, researchers found that those who consumed the most lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants found in yellow or dark-green leafy vegetables) had an 18% lower chance of developing cataracts than those who consumed the least amount of lutein and zeaxanthin.

In addition to helping absorb harmful ultraviolet light, antioxidants can help stop damaged lens-fiber proteins from clumping together and causing cataracts.

Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Known to fight inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids can help shield your eyes from cataract development, according to a 2005 study. Looking at data on 71,083 women, the study's authors discovered that those with a higher intake of omega-3s (found in oily fish like salmon and sardines, as well as in flaxseed) had a reduced risk of cataracts.

Consider Herbal Medicine

Animal-based research has shown that bilberry (an herb rich in antioxidants) and turmeric (an anti-inflammatory compound found in the curry spice turmeric) can help prevent the development of cataracts.

Causes and Symptoms

In most cases, lens fibers clump together due to aging-related deterioration. However, cataracts can also develop in younger individuals due to eye injuries, eye diseases, or inflammation.

Cataract symptoms include:

  • Blurred or dim vision
  • Loss of distance vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Difficulties with night vision
  • Tendencies to see a halo or glare around lights
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Loss of depth perception

It's important to note that cataracts tend to develop slowly and cause no pain. Since early detection is key to keeping cataracts in check, people ages 65 and older should get their eyes examined at least once every other year.

Using Alternative Medicine 

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend alternative medicine for cataract prevention or treatment. It's important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using alternative medicine, make sure to consult your physician first.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common Eye Disorders. Updated September 29, 2015.

  2. Christen WG, Liu S, Glynn RJ, Gaziano JM, Buring JE. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(1):102-9. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.1.102

  3. Lu M, Cho E, Taylor A, Hankinson SE, Willett WC, Jacques PF. Prospective study of dietary fat and risk of cataract extraction among US women. Am J Epidemiol. 2005;161(10):948-59. doi:10.1093/aje/kwi118

  4. Fursova AZh, Gesarevich OG, Gonchar AM, Trofimova NA, Kolosova NG. Dietary supplementation with bilberry extract prevents macular degeneration and cataracts in senesce-accelerated OXYS rats. Adv Gerontol. 2005;16:76-9.