Cataracts affect over 24.4 million Americans ages 40 and over. That is about 16% or 1 in every 6 people in this age range. More than half of the people over the age of 80 have cataracts. These statistics are simply staggering. The only treatment that is available today is through surgery, where a surgeon removes the cloudy lens, and then replaces it with an intraocular lens. So, is there anything we can do to slow the development cataracts? The answer is surprisingly simple: take better care of yourself. Check out the below article for tips to slow the development of cataracts.
While the exact cause of cataracts is unknown, they have been linked to high levels of oxidative stress, which causes damage to enzymes and proteins in the lens. What is oxidative stress? Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between those pesky free radicals, that damage the body as they roam around, and the antioxidants whose job it is to keep these radicals in check. These radicals are caused by consuming unhealthy foods, pollution or chemical exposure, smoking, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Healthy Food for Vision
Eating healthy food for vision maintenance is the most effective method for preventing cataracts. Studies cited by the American Optometric Association reveal that patients who ingested Vitamins C and E as supplements had a decreased risk for encountering this condition as they aged. Vegetables like kale, chili peppers, and broccoli, as well as their fruit counterparts like oranges, strawberries, and papayas, all contain large quantities of Vitamin C. Other healthy foods for eyes are spinach, avocados, and olives, all contain a good amount of Vitamin E.
The same studies show that ingesting foods high in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, like eggs, leafy greens and carrots, provides a significant layer of protection to slow the development of cataracts. Eating healthy food for vision benefits will not only improve other aspects of your life, since natural foods that contain these nutrients are heart-healthy and can lower your risk for other diseases and ailments. Sticking to a diet high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats are one great way to avoid cataract symptoms.
In a study conducted in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Oregon on a large group of women, it was found that eating foods that were nutrient rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals may help delay the development of cataracts. The same researchers also have found that diets containing high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin can also be associated with a decreased presence of cataracts in women.
Consuming whole grains and fish, which contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, may also pump up your free radical combating antioxidants.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Preventing cataract symptoms starts with making healthy lifestyle choices. Drinking and smoking are both activities that increase the likelihood of speeding the progression of developing cataracts, as nicotine and alcohol make it harder for the body to absorb Vitamin C and other valuable nutrients. As with all things, moderation is key, and consuming less alcohol is also conducive to living a healthier life.
UV rays are extremely damaging to the eyes, and increase the rate at which cataracts start and develop. Wearing sunglasses that are specifically designed to block UV rays and switching to photosensitive lenses in prescription eyeglasses will prevent cataract symptoms. Using a hat or scarf over sunglasses to block UV rays is also recommended, adding another layer of protection.
So, although there is not a nonsurgical cure for cataracts, there are certainly ways to decrease your chances of developing those cloudy little guys. Turn to good nutrition, and you will be rewarded. Don't be a statistic. Contact us for further information on the development, care, and removal of cataracts.