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Cataract - supplements, herbs, vitamins, natural remedy, research studies and medical
treatment - therapy....... Natural Treatment and Alternative Therapies
Supplements and Diet
Supplements and diet are not treatments for cataract, but certain supplements and diet may be helpful to lower the risk
for having cataract.
Supplements helpful for cataract prevention
Antioxidants are believed to be beneficial to people at risk of cataract formation. However, not enough supporting
research is available. Antioxidants and supplements that may have the benefit of the preventive effects include: Lutein
(Kale and Spinach), Alpha lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin C, Curcumin, Ginger, Selenium, Bilberry, Ginkgo biloba
High intake of fruit and vegetables definitely has a beneficial effect on many diseases. Yellow or dark leafy vegetables,
lentils, soybeans, and many high-fiber grain are helpful to prevent cataract. It is believed that high intake of sugar and
carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta and potatoes, increases the risk for cataracts.
Cataract - Definition
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very
common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract
surgery. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.
The lens is a clear part of the eye that helps to focus light, or an image, on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive
tissue at the back of the eye. In a normal eye, light passes through the transparent lens to the retina. Once it reaches
the retina, light is changed into nerve signals that are sent to the brain. Thus, the lens must be clear for the retina to
receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image you see will be blurred.
Types of cataract:
1. Secondary cataract. Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma, or other health
problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.
2. Traumatic cataract. Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
3. Congenital cataract. Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes.
4. Radiation cataract. Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.
What causes cataracts?
The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. It works much like a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of
the eye, where an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close
and far away. The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens
clear and lets light pass through it.
But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract.
Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the
protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.
How can cataracts affect my vision?
Age-related cataracts can affect your vision in two ways:
1. Clumps of protein reduce the sharpness of the image reaching the retina.
The lens consists mostly of water and protein. When the protein clumps up, it clouds the lens and reduces the light that
reaches the retina. The clouding may become severe enough to cause blurred vision. Most age-related cataracts
develop from protein clumpings. When a cataract is small. You may not notice any changes in your vision. Over time, the
cloudy area in the lens may get larger, and the cataract may increase in size.Your vision may get duller or blurrier.
2. The clear lens slowly changes to a yellowish/brownish color, adding a brownish tint to vision.
As the clear lens slowly colors with age, the vision gradually may acquire a brownish shade. At first, the amount of tinting
may be small and may not cause a vision problem. Over time, increased tinting may make it more difficult to read and
perform other routine activities. If you have advanced lens discoloration, you may not be able to identify blues and
Risk Factors for cataract
Cataract - Age-related
People can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do
not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts steal vision.
Risk Factors for cataract
The risk of cataract increases as you get older. Other risk factors for cataract include:
* Certain diseases such as diabetes.
* Personal behavior such as smoking and alcohol use.
* The environment such as prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Symptoms of a cataract
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
* Cloudy or blurry vision.
* Colors seem faded.
* Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright; a halo around lights.
* Poor night vision.
* Double vision or multiple images in one eye.
* Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
However, these symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems.
The symptoms of early cataract may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or
magnifying lenses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgery involves removing the
cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
There are two types of cataract surgery:
1. Phacoemulsification, or phaco. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped surface
that covers the front of the eye. Your doctor inserts a tiny probe into the eye. This device emits ultrasound waves that
soften and break up the lens so that it can be removed by suction. Most cataract surgery today is done by
phacoemulsification, also called "small incision cataract surgery."
2. Extracapsular surgery. Your doctor makes a longer incision on the side of the cornea and removes the cloudy core of
the lens in one piece. The rest of the lens is removed by suction.
After the natural lens has been removed, it often is replaced by an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL
is a clear, plastic lens that requires no care and becomes a permanent part of your eye. Light is focused clearly by the
IOL onto the retina, improving your vision. You will not feel or see the new lens.
Some people cannot have an IOL. They may have another eye disease or have problems during surgery. For these
patients, a soft contact lens, or glasses that provide high magnification, may be suggested.
Risks of cataract surgery
As with any surgery, cataract surgery poses risks, such as infection and bleeding. Serious infection can result in loss of
Cataract surgery slightly increases your risk of retinal detachment. Other eye disorders, such as high myopia
(nearsightedness), can further increase your risk of retinal detachment after cataract surgery. One sign of a retinal
detachment is a sudden increase in flashes or floaters. Floaters are little "cobwebs" or specks that seem to float about in
your field of vision.
Cataract removal is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery. In about 90 percent of cases, people who
have cataract surgery have better vision afterward.
SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOVE: National Eye Institute, July 2011