Reduce Your Risk for Cataracts
Can Vitamin C help prevent cataracts? Let’s see.
A cataract is a progressive clouding of the natural lens of the eye that blurs vision, causes colors to appear faded, and generally reduces visual acuity. Once cataracts form, they tend to grow, gradually affecting larger areas of the lens.
Cataract fact: The eye disease affects over 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older, or about one in every six people in this age range. By age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts. It’s the leading cause of blindness (Prevent Blindness America).
What Causes Cataracts?
No one knows for sure why the eye’s lens changes as we age, but researchers have identified various causes of cataracts:
- Family history
- High myopia (nearsightedness)
- Oxidative changes in the lens due to poor diet
- Previous eye inflammation or injury
- Prolonged use of steroidal medications
- Ultraviolet light exposure
The National Eye Institute points to other causes of cataracts, labeled as secondary, traumatic, congenital and radiation-related. Learn more about cataracts and your options at Mann Eye Institute from Mann Eye’s own Dr. Barker.
Cataracts and Vitamin “See”
You can also find Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, in food and consume it as a dietary supplement. Scientific evidence suggests it also lowers the risk of cataract development.
This idea that Vitamin C can help slow the progression of cataracts has been around for some time. A recent study from a research team at King’s College London has found that women whose diets were highest in Vitamin C had a 20% lower risk of developing cataracts than women whose diets rated low in Vitamin C rich foods. (Note: the 20% of women ate about two servings each of fruit and vegetables daily.)
Almost all cells in the body depend on Vitamin C, including those of the eye, where it is concentrated in all tissues. Vitamin C also promotes the health of the eye’s blood vessels. Our bodies do not naturally create all of the Vitamin C we need. This is precisely why the daily intake of Vitamin C through fruits, vegetables, beverages and nutritional supplements are recommended for maintaining optimal eye health.
The best dietary sources of Vitamin C are apples, asparagus, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, guava, kale, kiwi, lemons, limes, melons, oranges, lemons, limes, papaya, red bell peppers, potatoes, spinach and more. The USDA Nutrient Database offers comprehensive nutritional information on more than 8,000 raw and prepared foods with Vitamin C qualities.
Consider also adding a Vitamin C supplement to your daily routine. Scientific studies indicate taking a supplement with at least 300 mg/day of Vitamin C appears to help prevent the development of cataracts. Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that men get a minimum of 90 mg/day of Vitamin C and women get 75 mg/day.
Cataracts and Treatment
Understand that if cataracts do occur, they cannot be treated with medication, eye drops or lifestyle changes. “So far, surgery’s the only way to treat cataracts,” says Dr. Luke Barker, a specialist in laser cataract surgery at Mann Eye Institute.
Take your Vitamin C for a variety of health reasons, and be sure if you are experiencing clouded vision to trust your eyes to Houston/Austin cataracts specialists at Mann Eye Institute. Schedule your cataract screening today. We also offer the latest advancements in treating cataracts including Active Life Lens™, CATALYS™ laser technologies and more.
Schedule your initial cataract consultation today with Mann Eye Institute. We will give you a clear idea of what will benefit your vision and lifestyle. We are here to help you See Life Better.