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VNA of Care New England
by Alan R

Reducing Your Risk of Cataracts

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.
  • Wear protective eyewear when participating in sports to help avoid eye injury.


American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu.
The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov.

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