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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 one to two years. You should have an eye examination more often if you have any additional risk factors for cataracts, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other auto-immune 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 guidelines are general. 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 doctor's advice to keep any chronic diseases in good control.
  • Avoiding excess exposure to radiation.
  • Avoiding excess exposure to sunlight. Wear a hat and ultraviolet (UV)A/UVB blocking sunglasses whenever in bright sunlight.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Wear protective eyewear when participating in sports to help avoid eye injury.

References:

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.



Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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