Cataracts are a common eye issue as we age. According to the National Eye Institute, by age 65, around a quarter of people develop the clouding of the eye’s natural lens known as cataracts. The likelihood increases with each decade of life, starting at around age 40. By age 80, the prevalence increases to more than 50%.
If you have cataracts, it may be impacting your quality of life. Cataracts make vision blurry, they can make it harder to see in bright light or at night and colors may appear to be duller than they once were. When cataracts go untreated, it can lead to blindness.
Your vision is such an integral part of your life. You deserve to have vision that works for you perfectly at all times. Cataract surgery is always an option, but you may be wondering if it’s possible to reverse cataracts without surgery. Read on for information.
Can You Reverse Cataracts Without Surgery?
Currently, there is no non-surgical cure for cataracts that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration or other government body medical procedure regulators.
In 2015, a paper by university researchers published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science reported the discovery of a substance called Compound 29. The water-soluble compound reversed hereditary- and age-related cataracts in human lens tissue removed during cataract surgery. Studies were performed on mice, which presents some limitations about the effectiveness of Compound 29 on humans.
Another compound, lanosterol, has also been extensively studied as a potential solution to cataracts. However, it is not water-soluble enough to be included in eye-drop solution.
Is There a Natural Cure for Cataracts?
There is no natural cure for cataracts. According to the Mayo Clinic, no studies have proved how to prevent cataracts or slow their progression. But some healthy lifestyle practices that may be helpful include:
- Have regular eye examinations. This way, you can detect and treat eye problems earlier.
- Stop smoking, reduce alcohol use and manage health problems. Health issues like diabetes, as well as excessive alcohol use, can increase the likelihood of cataracts.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts.
- Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet light exposure may contribute to the development of cataracts.
You should also consult with your eye doctor about how prescription medications you’re taking may affect your cataract risk.
Can Cataracts Be Cured with Eye Drops?
Currently, cataracts can not be cured with eye drops. A 2017 review of studies published by the National Institutes of Health confirmed the only available treatment for cataracts remains surgery.
It is theorized that the compound N-acetylcarnosine, which metabolizes into the protein L-carnosine when it penetrates the cornea, may be used as an eye drop solution to reverse or prevent cataract progression. Studies must be conducted to confirm this hypothesis.
Can You Slow the Progression of Cataracts?
No studies have proved that you can slow the progression of cataracts. But in addition to making the healthy lifestyle choices mentioned above, a study by the Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust recommends avoiding using steroid eye drops. It’s also recommended that you avoid medications that may be associated with cataract progression.
What Will Happen if Cataracts are Left Untreated?
Cataract surgery is not always recommended as the first option when someone develops cataracts. Cataracts are common and don’t always worsen to the point where they affect quality of life. But, in many cases, they do get worse and can impair the ability to perform daily tasks, like driving.
In some cases when cataracts are left untreated, vision reduction will increase over time. This could lead to the development of legal blindness or total blindness.
Untreated cataracts can also develop a condition where they are hyper-mature. This makes them more difficult to remove and can lead to complications in cataract surgery. People who develop cataracts may opt to elect to get surgery early on because of this.
Find out what cataract surgery is like in this post.
Issues like these are why it’s so important to go to regular eye exams. If your vision is getting worse before you’re scheduled to see your eye doctor, make an earlier appointment so you consult with your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Can Cataract Blindness Be Reversed?
Yes, cataract blindness can be reversed. Blindness caused by cataracts can be reversed with cataract surgery and the implementation of an intraocular lens. However, cataracts that result in blindness are more difficult to remove and this surgery has higher complication rates. The best results from cataract surgery come before cataracts cause blindness.
How Do You Know if You Need Cataract Surgery?
Speak to a specialist to find out what the best option is for you. As mentioned, cataract surgery is most effective earlier on. Partner with cataract specialists at Barnet Dulaney Perkins to see if you’re a candidate for cataract surgery. There’s little to no discomfort during cataract surgery, and the positive effects it can have on your vision can be life-changing.