Eye Health: Natural Cataract Prevention

A cataract is a cloudy area that develops on the lens of the eye blocking light from the retina. The retina contains the nerve layer that absorbs light and signals your brain to interpret what you see. When a cataract blocks the retina vision may become impaired.

Causes of Cataracts

Causes of cataracts include exposure to direct sunlight, eye injury, eye diseases, or other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts sometimes develop with age, but they are not an inevitable part of aging.

Natural Prevention, but No Guarantee

There is no way to guarantee that you will not develop cataracts, but there are several things you can do to prevent the development of cataracts.

Natural Prevention of Cataracts: Protect Your Eyes

Always protect your eyes when you are in the sun. Wear hats, visors, and/or sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunlight. You should also avoid tanning beds. If you use a tanning bed always wear protective goggles and do not open your eyes while the tanning bed is on.

Natural Prevention of Cataracts: Vitamins and Supplements

Lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin E have been associated with decreased chance of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are compounds related to beta-carotene that are present in the lens and retina of our eyes. They are believed to filter high-energy blue light which can damage eye tissue. These cartenoids also function as antioxidants to protect eyes from free radicals that are believed to break down eye tissue.

Significant absence of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin E may contribute to vision impairment caused by macular degeneration and cataracts.

Lutein is a nutrient found in dark green leafy vegetables and colorful fruits. Increased consumption of turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, and spinach may aide in the prevention of cataracts. Squashy, peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other fruits are also good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Lutein and vitamin E are available in some over-the-counter multivitamins and nutritional supplements. Some supplemental “tears,” or eye moisturizers, contain these supplements.

Studies support the benefits of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin E to eye health.

Natural Prevention of Cataracts: Good Health

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is important to your overall health, including your eyes. A varied diet filled with fruits and vegetables is important to your vision. Keeping diseases under control, take medications only as directed, and report any changes in vision to your ophthalmologist immediately.

Traditional Treatment of Cataracts

Surgical removal is currently the only treatment for cataracts. Vision impairment caused by cataracts may happen slowly and become worse over time.

Cataracts that do not impair vision do not have to be treated at all.

” Cataracts – Topic Overview,”
“Lutein and Zeaxanthin May Offer Protection Against MD,”
Physicians’ Desk Reference
“Study Demonstrates Essential Role of Zeaxanthin in Eye Health”

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