Vision Health: Strategies to Reduce Your Risk

June is Cataract Awareness Month, shedding light on one of the primary causes of blindness worldwide. Cataracts develop when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, impairing vision. While often linked to aging, there are several measures you can take to help reduce your risk of developing cataracts. This article explores effective strategies for maintaining healthy eyes and preventing cataracts. 

Understanding Cataracts 

Cataracts cause the lens inside your eye, which should be clear, to become cloudy. This clouding can lead to a decrease in vision quality, affecting daily activities like driving, reading, and recognizing faces. Cataracts typically develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. 

Symptoms of Cataracts 

Common symptoms of cataracts include: 

  • Blurred or dim vision 
  • Difficulty with vision at night 
  • Sensitivity to light and glare 
  • Seeing “halos” around lights 
  • Frequent eyeglass prescription changes 
  • Faded or yellowed colors 

Risk Factors 

Several factors can increase your risk of developing cataracts, including: 

  • Age 
  • Diabetes 
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight 
  • Smoking 
  • Obesity 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Previous eye injuries or surgeries 
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications 


Preventive Measures 

Protect Your Eyes from UV Light: Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays and a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors. Excessive sunlight exposure can increase your risk of cataracts, so proper protection is important. 

Quit Smoking: Smoking accelerates the formation of cataracts. If you smoke, seek help to quit. Non-smokers should avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. 

Manage Health Conditions: Keep systemic health issues like diabetes and hypertension under control. High blood sugar from diabetes can damage the lens of the eye, while high blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in your eyes. 

Follow a Healthy Diet: Eating a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can help maintain eye health. Focus on foods high in vitamins C and E, like citrus fruits, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. These nutrients can help protect the lens of your eye. 

Reduce Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cataract formation. Limit your alcohol to moderate levels. 

Regular Eye Examinations: Regular check-ups can help detect cataracts and other eye health issues early. Early detection is key to managing the condition effectively. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity can increase the risk of cataracts. Exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet to keep a healthy weight. 

While cataracts are commonly linked to aging, taking proactive steps to protect your eyes can significantly lower your risk.  

This Cataract Awareness Month, commit to adopting healthier lifestyle choices that benefit not only your eyes but your overall well-being.  

Regular eye exams, UV protection, healthy diet, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking can all contribute to reducing your risk of cataracts, ensuring clearer vision for years to come. 


The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery 

National Eye Institute