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What are cataracts? Cataracts occur when the lens behind the colored part of your eyes, the iris, becomes cloudy. Sixty percent of people over age 60 have varying degrees of cataracts. When the development of cataracts is not controlled, it could eventually lead to blindness. Cataracts typically happen with the aging process. We gradually get a dimmer view of the world. Nobody wants this; when there’s a bright day outside, we want to have a clear, crisp view. A dimmer view can also affect our attitude and perspective throughout the day.

Although there are surgical and laser procedures available to treat cataracts, these solutions are commonly associated with risks. The better option is to take charge of your eye health with natural measures that stop cataracts before they occur or get worse.

Here are some factors that contribute to the occurrence of cataracts and what you can do to counteract their effects:

  1. Excess exposure to the UV rays. Outdoor sports, such as waterskiing and hiking, may increase your exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Wear eyeglasses or sunglasses with UV protection to prevent them from adversely affecting your eyesight.
  2. Diabetes. Control your blood sugar by managing your food intake.
  3. Using oral, topical and inhaled steroids (like the one used for asthma). If you need to take them, you don’t need to stop, but you need to control cataract production that may result.
  4. Statin drugs, such as Lipitor, Pravachol, Crestor and Zocor. When you’re using statin drugs, you’re lowering CoQ10 levels in your body. It is advisable to take a CoQ10 supplement daily unless your doctor has told you specifically not to, or you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin or Warfarin. CoQ10 is an antioxidant and immune stimulant that can ward off cataracts.

And below are some essential additions to your nutrition that can help prevent cataracts:

  1. Vitamin E, Vitamin A, beta-carotene and carotenoids. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that contributes to the prevention and treatment of cataracts. People with skin and night vision problems often have lower Vitamin A levels. Vitamin A also helps with cataracts and has been known to improve the health of your retina. Your eyes also need beta-carotene and mixed carotenoids. To get these nutrients in your body, eat a lot of carrots or take a multivitamin. Increase supplementation of beta-carotene.
  2. Lutein. Lutein protects your eye and retina. You want to have more Lutein in your diet. The minimum recommended dose is 18-20 mg a day.
  3. Quercetin and bioflavonoids. These are natural substances in foods that can help with allergies and contribute to the health of the blood vessels in your eye. They also provide connective tissue and collagen and are effective antioxidants.
  4. Selenium. Deficiency in selenium can cause prostate problems and cancers of various types. A goodquality multivitamin can provide selenium.

Taking charge of your eye health before cataracts occur can save you a lot of discomfort. Avoid getting to the point where you need eye surgery. Be proactive and devour life as much as you can with a healthy attitude. Our eyes work for us, but we have to work for them as well.

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