About This Condition
Cataract is a cloudiness in the lens of the eye caused by damage to the protein of the lens. This damage impairs vision.
Most people who live long enough will develop cataracts.1 Cataracts are more likely to occur in those who smoke, have diabetes, or are exposed to excessive sunlight. All of these factors lead to oxidative damage. Oxidative damage to the lens of the eye appears to cause cataracts in animals2 and people.3
It is unlikely that any nutritional supplements or herbs can reverse existing cataracts, although it is possible they might help prevent cataracts from becoming worse.
Cataracts usually develop slowly without any pain or redness of the eye. The most common symptoms of a cataract are fuzzy or blurred vision, increasing need for light when reading or doing other close work, visual disturbances caused by bright lights (e.g., sunlight, car headlights), faded color perception, poor night vision, and frequent need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. A cataract will not spread from one eye to the other, although many people develop cataracts in both eyes.
In the beginning stages, magnifying lenses, stronger eyeglasses, and brighter lighting may compensate for the vision problems caused by cataracts. Once the vision problems affect daily activities, surgery may be necessary to replace the clouded lens with a clear artificial lens. For many people, the lens capsule remaining in the eye after surgery eventually turns cloudy, causing additional loss of vision.