Can I reduce my chance of developing cataracts by eating well?
Cataracts often form as we get older and are the major cause of blindness globally. The only way to deal with a cataract is to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL) during cataract surgery.
While the precise reason that cataracts form is unclear, experts have concluded that oxidative stress will damage certain enzymes and proteins that are in the eye's natural lens, which will lead to the lens becoming cloudy.
The research has not produced any conclusive results, but eating a healthy diet that is antioxidant rich and includes certain vitamins has, in several studies, been highlighted as indicating a reduced risk of developing cataracts or in those cataracts progressing.
Oxidative stress will occur when damaging free radicals that roam the body and the antioxidants that keep them in check are out of kilter. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that react with other atoms and molecules because their electrons are unpaired.
Eating Well for Optimum Eye Health
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables might reduce your risk of cataracts later in life. The free radicals mentioned earlier will damage the body by stealing electrons from healthy cells of tissues and organs. This process is called oxidation.
Oxidation in the eye affects proteins and fats in the lens, damaging and clouding the lens - a cataract is created. Preventing damage from free radicals by eating healthy foods, concentrating on those that contain antioxidants, is thought likely to slow this process down.
The free radicals that cause damage to our eyes and to the rest of our bodies commonly arise from:
· Eating unhealthy foods
· Exposure to pollution or chemicals
· Ultraviolet light
Some free radicals, however, will occur from regular daily metabolism, meaning that even people without specific risk factors need the antioxidants that are found in healthy foods.
Those who consistently eat a healthy diet will include colourful fruits, vegetables and helpings of whole grains. There is some evidence that this might result in a decreased risk of cataracts. Antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals that are found in possible cataract reducing fruits and vegetables will also include A, C and E as well as zeaxanthin and lutein.
Eating fish that has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids has also has been linked to the potential for reduced risk of cataract development or progression.
A great source of information on this subject and eye health in general can be found at http://www.focusclinics.com/