Is there any non-surgical treatment to avoid the evolution of eye cataracts?

Not growing older would help -if that could only be achieved!

Cataract is not a disease, or tumor, or skim, or foreign material in the eye. "Cataract" is the arguably outdated, historical name for the typical end-stages of the life-long aging of the eye's natural lens. This age-related degeneration causes the lens to harden and discolor (the lens, not the cornea). When this finally gets bad enough, we call it a "cataract". The hardening/discoloration very slowly but inexorably undermines the lens' ability to focus light into a sharp image on the retina long before the lens actually opacifies. [There are certain drug-induced and traumatic causes as well but they are not the "typical" cataract.]

Presbyopia (needing reading glasses) can be said to be the earliest sign of cataract, although that is not usually how we think of it. Even eye doctors get seduced into thinking of a cataract as a diseased organ or tumor that needs to be "cut out" -like a gall bladder -when it is bad enough. But since the advent of high-quality intraocular lenses (IOLs) that can be used to replace an age-damaged lens, this older concept of cataract breeds a certain "horse-blinders" thinking that impedes understanding the true nature of a dysfunctional natural lens (cataract) and its prospective replacement with an artificial new one.

Periodically there will be some eye-drop marketed to gullible public with claims that sound like they can "cure" cataracts: e.g "Relieves the symptoms of cataracts." But the symptoms referred to here are just the eye strain of trying to see through a cataract! I remember one patient who kept using his brand-name "Catarase" drops right up to being taken into the operating room for his IOL surgery!

Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic

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