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Can You Prevent Cataracts?

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A reader of Scientific American Consumer Health's Vision White Paper asks: "Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of developing cataracts?" Here's what research has shown. 


Being physically active, especially over the long term, can lower your risk of developing cataracts, and being inactive can increase it, studies are showing. Most recently, Swiss researchers surveyed more than 52,000 people ages 45 to 83 about the extent of their physical activity, both currently and when they were age 30. They also measured how many of them developed cataracts over 12 years of follow-up.


Approximately 11,500 people developed cataracts. Compared with those who were least active, people who were most active had a 13 percent lower risk of developing cataracts, even after researchers took into account other risk factors such as smoking, obesity, diet and alcohol use. Even frequent walking was associated with a reduced cataract risk: People who walked (or bicycled) more than one hour a day had a 12 percent lower risk of cataracts than those who rarely did either activity. Furthermore, people who were inactive for more than six hours a day had a 27 percent higher risk of cataracts than those who sat for less than one hour a day. People who had been more physically active since age 30 had a 24 percent lower risk of cataracts than those who were inactive. 


So the best advice is to keep moving, as long as you are physically able—and your medical doctor approves. The study was published in the journal Ophthalmology. 



Posted in Vision on January 29, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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Scientific American Vision White Paper 2016

2016 Vision White Paper

This comprehensive report is essential reading for anyone affected by a vision disorder, including low vision, cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

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