Doctor's Note

The concentration of advanced glycation end-products in animal-based foods may help explain this finding; see my video Glycotoxins. In Prevent Glaucoma and See 27 Miles Farther, I covered the second leading cause of blindness—glaucoma, and I previously covered two other leading causes of vision loss in Preventing Macular Degeneration with Diet, where I also touched on diabetic retinopathy. Check out my other videos on plant-based diets.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Preserving Vision Through DietPlant-Based Diets for Metabolic Syndrome; and Plant-Based Diets for Fibromyalgia.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    The concentration of advanced glycation end-products in animal-based foods may help explain this finding; see my video Glycotoxins. In Prevent Glaucoma and See 27 Miles Farther I covered the second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma, and the day before that I covered two other leading causes of vision loss in Preventing Macular Degeneration with Diet, where I also touch on diabetic retinopathy. I have 105 other videos on plant-based diets and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects—I hope you’ll check them out.

    • HemoDynamic

      I would love to see the study that shows a plant based diet reversing cataracts.  Pubmed doesn’t show any.  Just hope for the future I guess.

      Also, Dr. Greger, just curious as to how many site hits this website gets per day?  Because like I said before I send at least 5 patients per day to your site so you have got to be at least at 500/day, right?  That is assuming that half I send don’t visit the site (or don’t care, and/or Love their Grilled Carcasses to much =):-}

      • Michael Greger M.D.

        We get a few thousand unique visitors a day–thanks to folks like you that are spreading the word!

      • Grandpa Wally

        See my experience with Castor Oil reversing cataracts on my blog @
        My vision was restored to 20/20 and all traces of cataracts dissolved in just three and a half weeks.

    • Rhinokitty

      Any chance you could make this all simpler and come out with a vegan multivitamin based on your research?

    • Grandpa Wally

      After following the Budwig Protocol (3 tblspns flaxseed oil blended with 6 tblspns organic low fat cottage cheese, with 1 tblspn freshly ground flaxseeds and fruit every morning) for about two years, my ophthamalogist took me off my glaucoma eye drop prescription saying “things look well stabilized, so let’s try without the medicine.” I had been taking prescriptive eye drops for glaucoma for more than 20 years, but now I don’t need medicine any longer. I take flaxseed oil, cottage cheese, and ground flaxseeds every day.

  • Mike Quinoa

    Just finished a biography about Nathan Pritikin (with mention in the book of course of one Frances Greger) called “Nathan Pritikin: The Man Who Healed America’s Heart.” I found it to be a fascinating and inspiring read with mention of all kinds of interesting studies. Unfortunately, there were no references for these studies in the back of the book. One study mentioned was the auditory acuity maintained by the Mabaan tribe in Sudan. Even the older tribespeople enjoy hearing superior to most younger Americans. Not being subjected to the noises of modern technology is probably beneficial for the Mabaan, but apparently atherosclerosis of the organs of hearing is a strong determinant of presbycusis in western societies.  Since the book didn’t mention the diet of the Mabaan, I did a little research. I believe this is the study: Ann. Otol. Rhin & Laryng. 71:727, 1962. To quote from the study: “The results clearly indicate that presbycusis is not inevitable. However, the Mabaan population differs from ours in may ways besides the noise environment: they eat little animal protein, there is no obesity and little dental caries, and average blood pressure does not increase with age.”

  • Chiqlet

    If you are already developing cataracts not yet in need pf surgery – can you slow or reverse by adopting healthy vegan diet?

  • Slider

    Three years ago I was diagnosed with cataracts (beginning stage…yellow tinted fluid in eyes). A second eye doctor confirmed the diagnoses. Both said I would be sightless in two years. Today my vision is still 20/15 corrected with contact lenses since age sixteen. How can the two doctors be so wrong?

    A year prior to the diagnosis I started taking a 5% Lugol’s Iodine Solution supplement. Could the iodine possibly have tinted my eye fluid like it does microscope slides?

    • Cataracts are opacities in the lens not the fluid in the eye. I’m glad to hear that your physicians were wrong. It is clear that cataracts are less prevalent in groups eating a more plant based diet as pointed out in the article cited in this video. Once they have formed reversing the condition has not been shown. Fortunately surgical treatment of cataracts is one of the most successful and rewarding(for patients) who need the procedure. If you want to protect your vision plant based diet is the way to go although some foods seem to be better than others.. see video on macular degeneration… and glaucoma…… and diabetic retinopathy… The science keeps building up to support a plant based diet with Vit B12 supplementation but you need to keep tuned to as the science keeps coming… Good luck.

      • Motia Bind

        Sorry, cataract surgery carries a significantly increased risk of macular degeneration and other secondary complications, which makes it less “rewarding”.
        Anticataract eye drops that can reverse some types of cataract are available on the Net, while others are available in certain countries. They act to reverse cataract via different biochemical pathways, either by de-aggregating alpha-crystallin, or by destroying complexes of alpha-crystallin with Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) within the lens. However, as top members of the eye profession have themselves openly admitted, they don’t want a non-surgical alternative to cataract surgery because they rely on it for their ‘bread-and-butter’. Although one effective eye drop has been successfully used for 20 years in one world region, the eye profession prefers to remain ignorant of cataract reversal eye drops, which is why they have not been widely tested, further developed and perfected. Consequently they are not widely available, and people are still forced to submit to the surgery or lose their eyesight.

  • Slider

    One other unrelated comment, two internet posters both insist their eye color changed after switching to a vegan diet. Both claim they are healthy and have no eye problems.
    Is there any truth to the claim eyes can change color after switching to a plant based diet?

  • Chris Thomas

    I shouldn’t be getting cataracts but my opthamologist says I’ll get them.

  • Ben O’Loughlin


  • Deitra Jones

    What was the length of time the vegans were vegan?

    It would be helpful to know this for all videos and reports even if it is an average or approximate.

  • Richard Frazee

    It would also be interesting to know if switching from a meat/fish diet to a vegetarian or vegan diet reverses the damage.

    • Mark R. Mach

      This is obviously anecdotal, but I had cataracts for over ten years though they were not prominent enough to be bothersome. I started on a WFPB diet over two years ago, and a couple o
      f months ago the cataracts in my right eye had become problematic enough to warrant surgery last week. So at least in my case, there was no reversal of my cataracts—and even continued progression of them.

  • michael dolan

    Thank you for making so much material available to read. It really is a great help for a man living in Germanys north west were a lot of pig eating goes on. Makes things tough when invited to a party. I can actually see the illness in most age groups here due to there high intake of fats and meat. Funny how the truth is staring is in the face but nobody wants to hear about it.

    Keep up the great work.

    Michael Dolan

    • Thea

      Michael: I like getting a peak into the situations in other countries. So, thanks for this post.

      re: “Makes things tough when invited to a party.”
      I fully understand this. Some human cultures have gotten to the point where social life becomes difficult just because you want to eat healthy. It’s possible to go to parties and still live the way you know is best, but you have to work a lot harder at it. You are not alone.

  • Morgaine

    I have recently come across an article that suggests a high carbohydrate diet is linked to cataract formation. (Chung-Jung Chiu, et al, “Dietary carbohydrate intake and glycemic index in relation to cortical and nuclear lens opacities in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006; 83: 1777-1784)
    Have you reviewed this and is it a valid study? Is it really necessary to start counting the glycemic rating of all my plant-based foods? Thanks.

  • Clint Stevens

    Is there ever an urgency to perform cataract surgery? If not, giving a plant based diet a shot is something one could experiment with themselves on a singular trial basis, it seems that going vegan would not hurt and potentially could benefit someone who end up with the surgery if they did nothing. Surgical outcomes have got to be better for those who are plant based eaters vs SAD dieters who often get diabetes. My father-in-law had this surgery performed and his outcome has been worse than if he had not ever had it done.

  • Wesley

    All plants contain distilled water, I think people need to start drinking distilled water as well, as all other sources are damaging to the body. There are organic and inorganic minerals the inorganic minerals are no good for the body. Organic minerals are in plants!

    • Scott S

      Plants contain water, they don’t “distill” water. Distillation is a process where a liquid is heated to form vapor which is then condensed and collected. That’s distillation Wesley. Minerals are inorganic by definition (no carbon). Calcium is a mineral. Minerals can be found in organic environments like plants. I think that is what you mean.

  • Wesley

    I believe it’s these inorganic minerals building up in the body that’s leading cause in glaucoma , arthritis, gout and many other diseases!

  • Kristina

    but dr. greger, i have been a vegetarian since 1984 and vegan since 2002. what do i do now that i’m starting to get cataracts? why did this happen?

  • Joneen

    I had understood that it was the amount of fats and oils in the diet that contributed to the opacification of the lens of the eye. That reducing these in the diet will halt the progression of cataracts but not undo the damage all ready there.

  • Joneen

    I had understood that it was the amount of fats and oils in the diet that contributed to the opacification of the lens of the eye. That reducing these in the diet will halt the progression of cataracts but not undo the damage all ready there.

  • dorange
  • wetcoast

    I have eaten a mostly vegetarian diet for 20 years excepting for a 2 year period where physicians insisted I start eating meat again due to extremely low iron levels and debilitating heavy menstruation due to fibroids. I have now been eating a primarily vegan diet for the past 5 years and was advised last month that I have cataracts that need treatment right away. So – what have I been doing wrong?? Am I correct that once diagnosed, there is no reversal?

  • Jean Charles Concas

    Galactitol, the reduction product of galactose in excess in the lens of the eye lead to cataracts. And the culprit is Cow’s Milk.

  • I’ve been eating a whole foods plant based diet for about two and a half years, and take a B12 supplement. It’s helped me in many ways, but at my eye check up last week I was dismayed to learn that I am developing cataracts. I see my eye doctor once a year so this is a new development. I’m only 39! I don’t have any of the risk factors for early cataract development. The only things I can think might be related are a pregnancy with gestational diabetes and three cortisone injections that occurred years ago (most recent was three years ago). Could my WFPB diet slow the progression? I’ve been told this could be an aggressive form that affects my vision very quickly or it could take years to notice a problem. Just have to watch and wait. Any tips or resources are appreciated, I was shocked and depressed after learning this.

  • JunkFoodVegan

    I didn’t know that a plant based diet also helps to prevent

    cataracts, until now. this is exciting!

  • George Reichel

    Does the consumption of Astaxanthin have an effect on cataract?