by Julie Barbeau Capruciu, B.A., NDA
Cataract is an eye disease which is defined by the opacification of the crystalline or eye lens. It is caused by the accumulation of degenerative proteins due to an excess number of free radicals, and usually appears at about 55 years of age.
Who can develop cataracts?
One out of five people is affected by it after the age of 65 and nearly one person out of three after 85 years old. However, cataracts may develop in children and young adults in association with fetal diseases (rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmosis) or others (trisomy 21, chronic and generalized eczema etc.) or following prolonged corticosteroid therapy.
What are the risk factors?
Risk factors related to cataracts are:
- prolonged exposure to the sun,
- excess fatty foods or refined sugar,
- cardiovascular diseases,
- alcohol consumption and
Symptoms of cataracts
The most frequent symptoms of cataracts are, blurry vision, progressive declining eyesight, hypersensitivity to light or the need for additional light for reading, difficulty driving at night, high myopia and whitening of the pupil.
When cataracts begin to develop, the progressive decline of eyesight coincides with the appearance of myopia so that people who should be wearing glasses for reading (because of presbyopia) no longer need to for a time.
Surgery is the only possible treatment for advanced cataracts. However, several factors can slow down the disease or even prevent it.
Eye protection against UV rays:
Prevent eye degeneration by avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun and other sources of bright lights. Wear sunglasses generally from dawn to dusk, when driving, and near water or snow to protect your eyes from the harsh glare of the sun. Powder snow reflects 85% of UV rays compared to only 20% for beach sand.
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, or more if you are active. Eyes are particularly sensitive to dehydration, which reduces their resistance to free radicals.
Avoid toxic substances
Avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption. Cigarette smoke contains huge amounts of toxins and contributes to the proliferation of free radicals. Alcohol weakens the liver’s ability to eliminate waste and dehydrates the body.
A liver and kidney therapy treatment using a plant-based product such as Boldocynara by A.Vogel can help increase the detoxification functions of these emunctory organs. However, these types of treatments should be avoided if you are pregnant or in combination with certain medications you may be taking.
Eating healthy and balanced meals at regular hours
Avoid refined sugar, control your blood glucose and saturated fats, especially trans fats. The eyes are especially sensitive to fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Also, excess sugar is transformed into saturated fat, which contributes to the development of free radicals.
Adding a supplement such as VegOmega-3 by A.Vogel, a source of omega 3, which is vegetable-based and of high quality, can help offset the harmful effects of saturated fats and to control the body’s inflammatory process (inflammation is often followed by an increase of free radicals).
Adding antioxidants to your protocol supplements to reduce the harmful effects associated with free radicals
- Vitamin A: 10 000 IU and beta-carotene: 30 000 IU per day. Avoid strong doses of beta-carotene if you smoke or if you are pregnant.
- Lutein1 and zeaxanthin are carotenoids which have antioxidant properties in addition to filtering blue light, a source of irritation to the eye’s photoreceptors. These carotenoids are part of the crystalline, macular pigment, ciliary body and the entire retina. It is recommended to take between 5 and 6 mg per day to prevent cataracts.
Foods containing the most lutein and zeaxanthin are green vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, squash and green peas. Lutein and Zeaxanthin cannot be produced by the body, so food remains the best way of acquiring them.
- Vitamin C and bioflavonoids: 500 to 1000 mg per day. Bioflavonoids should be taken with Vitamin C to increase absorption of both these nutrients. Research indicates that Vitamin C is 30 to 50 times more present in the aqueous humor of the eye than in the blood.
- Vitamin E (mixed tocopherol): 200 to 600 IU per day. Avoid strong doses if you are taking anticoagulants.
- Other sources of antioxidants: blackcurrant berries, pycnogenol, grape seed, quercetin, cysteine and superoxide dismutase
Other nutrients or useful plants
- Zinc. This mineral is essential in metabolizing Provitamin A and is an inhibitor of macular degeneration.
- Biotta juices. Whether you choose the carrot juice rich in Vitamin A, or the Breuss vegetable juice rich in antioxidants, both provide an excellent complement to a healthy diet.
- A.Vogel offers Sharp Vision, a supplement that brings together a set of exceptional antioxidants and nutrients which help improve visual acuity, night vision and prevents, if not slows down, the development of cataracts.
Physical activity and meditation help oxygenate the body, reduce stress and get rid of toxins while strengthening the overall body. Remember, any positive lifestyle habits that improve your general health also improve your eye health.
1- A study conducted by Harvard University in 1999 shows a correlation between the intake of lutein and a reduced risk of cataracts (Chasson-Taber et al., 1999, Harvard University, Lutein intake and cataract extraction in women). Since then, several other scientific studies have confirmed the effectiveness of lutein in slowing down or preventing cataracts, as shown in Medline