Eye Cataracts

Eye cataracts become more common as we age. According to the National Eye Institute, "by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery." Many people who have macular degeneration also have cataracts which can affect their vision.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. It can occur in one or both eyes. The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

eye cataracts

Light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain.

When the lens is clear the retina receives a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image is blurred.

cataract definition

Eye cataract types are categorized by where the cataract is located, when it developed and the cause of the cataract. A person can have more than one type of cataract and each type affects our vision differently.

To learn more about the definition of a cataract click here:

Cataract Definition

Cataracts and Macular Degeneration

Cataracts and macular degeneration? Both of these eye conditions are the result of aging and free radical damage to our eyes.

Many people ask what impact does cataract surgery have on the progression of macular degeneration?

There are some anecdotal incidences of the progression of wet macular degeneration after cataract surgery - however, it has not been proven.

To learn more about cataract and macular degeneration click here:

Cataract and Macular Degeneration

Cataract Prevention

The prevention of cataracts is tied to lifestyle and nutrition just like it is for macular degeneration prevention. By age 80 more than half of all Americans have cataracts. In fact the Framingham Eye Study states that if you live long enough you will most likely develop cataracts.

cataract prevention

The prevention of cataracts is closely tied to the role of antioxidants and free radicals. UV radiation from the sun causes chemical changes in the lens of the eye. The clouding of the lens is often caused by free radical damage from ultra-violet light.

Because the lens of the eye absorbs the light rays from the sun, oxidation results which then damages our lens. Beth Ley, Ph.D. reports on the Chesapeake Bay professional fishermen study done by Johns Hopkins hospital in her book Bilberry and Lutein.

"Those with cataracts had 20% more exposure to sunlight in every year of life."

To provide the best protection for your eyes consider Fitover or wrap around sunglasses. They provide protection from the sun from all angles, not just the front.Standard sunglasses can allow up to 40% more light to reach the eyes because they do not provide protection from the top, bottom and sides.

To learn what steps you can take now to prevent cataracts click here: Cataract Prevention

Cataracts and Nutrition

Cataracts and nutrition can be linked as a result of several studies and cataract research. You will find several studies showing that cataract prevention along with the prevention of macular degeneration can be tied to diets high in antioxidants.

cataract prevention

Eye health (and the health of the rest of your body) is linked to diet and nutrition. Without the needed nutrients our bodies cannot produce healthy cells, healthy tissue, or healthy organs.

Most of the important nutrients our bodies need cannot be produced by the body. They must come from food or quality nutritional supplements. Not only is it important to include nutrient rich foods in your diet, but you must also cut out unhealthy foods.

If this topic interests you one of the best books to read is SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. It is written by an ophthalmologist who has a family history of macular degeneration.

Antioxidants help prevent diseases that are associated with free radical damage, like cataracts and macular degeneration. They work by binding with the free radicals and are thus able to reduce the destruction to cell walls and arteries. You can get your antioxidants by eating antioxidant rich foods from wild blueberries to dark, rich kale.

The Blue Mountains Eye Study involved 2,900 people aged 49 to 97 years living in an urban community near Sydney, Australia. Here are the details.

1. The testing involved food frequency questionnaires and lens photography.

2. Lens photographs were graded for presence and severity of cortical, nuclear, and posterior subcapsular cataracts

"RESULTS: Higher intakes of protein, vitamin A, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin were associated with reduced prevalence of nuclear cataract."

Ophthalmology 2000 Mar;107(3):450-6.

Lutein benefits our retina and the lens of the eyes. This carotenoid is found in

1) the lens of your eyes and

2) the retina, especially the macula. Oxidation plays a role in the development of cataracts, or the clouding of the lens. Antioxidants are known to protect our cells from the damage that they cause.

Here is the conclusion of a prospective observational study that was reported on in January 2008 from a large cohort of female health professionals:

"higher dietary intakes of lutein/zeaxanthin and vitamin E from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract."

Archives of Ophthalmology Vol. 126 No. 1, January 2008

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