Prevention of Cataracts

The prevention of cataracts is tied to age, lifestyle and nutrition just like it is for macular degeneration prevention.

Causes of Cataracts

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.

The reason for this is that chemical changes occur in the lens due mostly to UV radiation. This radiation is accumulative - so the longer you live the more UV light you absorb. UV radiation forms free radicals which is one of the major causes of cataracts.

cataract prevention

Oxidation Definition

cataract prevention

Free radicals cause damage to the lens and to the macula (the small center in the retina) as a result of oxidation. Oxidation leaves the body with thousands of unbalanced electrons. These unstable electrons bring damage to our cells and especially to the lens of the eye and the macula where there is a lot of oxidation.

Keeping our free radicals in balance is extremely critical in the prevention of cataracts, macular degeneration, degenerative diseases, cancer and in the aging battle.

Some of this is a normal part of the aging process, but there are other factors that can cause cataracts to develop earlier. They are:

1) Smoking

2) Ultraviolet Light

3) Unhealthy diet

Cataract Prevention

Prevention of cataracts may not be possible, but it may be possible to delay the development of cataracts through a healthy lifestyle. Take these steps to help protect the lens of your eye:

cataract prevention

1. Protect your eyes from ultraviolet light

√ Wear 100% UV protected sunglasses and wide brim hats

√ Avoid the sun from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

√ Do not use tanning beds

You don't need to buy expensive sunglasses to get good protection.

cataract prevention

2. Quit smoking.

Smoking causes free radicals to form and decreases the level of antioxidants in the blood. Now we have more free radicals than what can be disarmed by the circulating antioxidants. These free radicals through a cascading series of chemical reactions bring disease and aging to our bodies.

Many common eye diseases are associated with smoking. Normally we think of the lungs as being the most affected organ. The health of our bodies and our eyes - including the macula and the lens - depends on healthy circulation. Smoking promotes atherosclerosis or a hardening of blood vessels - including the fragile ocular (eye) capillaries. To learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking click here:

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

3. Eat antioxidant rich foods and foods high in lutein

cataract prevention

Antioxidants are nutrients that help prevent diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts by disarming the free radicals. Free radicals from as a result of normal body mechanisms. It is when the ratio of free radicals to antioxidants gets out of balance that diseases can develop. It is so important to include antioxidant rich foods in your diet.

4.  Increase Your Intake of Vitamin C

prevention of cataracts

"The Nutrition and Vision Project found that higher intakes of vitamin C reduced the risk for cortical and nuclear cataracts.  Results also showed that people who used Vitamin C and E supplement for more than 10 years decreased the progression of nuclear cataracts."

Nutrition and Cataracts by American Optometric Association

Cataracts and Nutrition

cataract prevention

Dr. Michael Samuel, ophthalmologist and author of Macular Degeneration: A Complete Guide for Patients and Their Families

writes this in his book. "Nutritional changes - specifically, high levels of antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and to help slow their progression."

Dr. Michael Grossman, optometrist and acupuncturist, believes that "Research has shown that cataracts can be prevented as well as managed through specific lifestyle, diet and supplement choices."

Find out his recommendations for lifestyle, diet and eye vitamins for cataract prevention here:

Cataract Nutritional Recommendations

Lutein and Cataracts

cataract prevention

Zeaxanthin with lutein are powerful antioxidants that protect our eyes from the damages of free radicals. Here is the conclusion of a study that was reported on in January 2008.

The prospective observational data from a large cohort of female health professionals reported:

"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

To learn more about how lutein can help with the prevention of cataracts and what foods are high in lutein click here: Lutein for the Eyes

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