are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States and
worldwide. Because they develop gradually, and because most
of us tend to associate some vision disturbances with “normal”
aging, most cases go undetected until it is too late to stop
the damage. This is a shame, because when cataracts are caught
in their early stages, it is possible to halt or even reverse
their progression. If your eyes are healthy, you can also take
steps that may help prevent cataracts altogether.
are cloudy or opaque spots that develop on the usually translucent
lens of the eye. When these spots first appear, you may not
notice any difference in your vision.
period of years, however, the cataract spreads across the lens.
You may notice that it’s harder to make out details or
that colors look different. Night driving becomes more challenging.
If you’ve been farsighted for most of your life, a cataract
may actually improve your vision—for a short while. As
the cataract continues to grow, it will become more difficult
to see medium-sized and larger objects. In the worst-case scenario,
cataracts can leave a person completely blind. In fact, 40,000
Americans go blind every year as a result of cataracts.
fall under the category that doctors call “senile cataracts.”
These are lens spots that commonly accompany old age, although
they are by no means an inevitable part of growing older. We
now know that senile cataracts are caused by damage from free
radicals, the unbalanced, destructive molecules that destroy
cells in the body. While the production of free radicals does
naturally increase somewhat with aging, most of these dangerous
agents are caused by lifestyle choices. Excess sun exposure,
poor diet, and smoking are all primary causes of free radicals.
Changing these habits can prevent and sometimes stop cataracts,
as can taking steps to supply your body with antioxidants, the
substances that fight free radicals.
instances, cataracts are inherited or caused by a preexisting
disorder. Cataracts that begin in youth or middle age are extremely
rare and are usually related to an inherited condition. In addition,
people with diabetes and Down’s syndrome have a higher
risk of developing cataracts than the rest of the population
function can be at the root of cataracts. Low stomach acid can
lead to malabsorption of nutrients from foods and can create
more free radicals. In addition, toxic metals such as cadmium,
mercury, and others accelerate free radical damage of the lens.
Elevated blood sugar levels, as is seen with diabetes, is a
major risk factor for developing cataracts.
If at any
stage of your life you experience vision changes, it’s
important to consult a doctor or an optometrist as soon as possible.
For any eye disorders, an early diagnosis can mean effective
treatment. Nutritional therapy is important in the prevention
and the treatment of cataracts.
** All of
these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level
of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your
doctor when taking any and all supplements.
Super Prescriptions – Cataract
Prescription #1 High-potency
multivitamin - LifeSource
This provides a base of nutrients that will neutralize
Prescription # 2 Vitamin
C - LifeSource
Vitamin C is one of the main antioxidants that protects
the eye lens. Take 1,000 mg two to three times daily.
Prescription #3 Gentain root (Gentiana lutea) or betaine
Gentian root and other bitter herbs improve stomach acid
and overall digestive function. Take 250 mg or 0.5 to
1.0 m with meals. Betaine HCL increases stomach acid levels
for improved absorption. Take 1 to 2 capsules with meals.
Prescription #4 Bilberry (Vaccimium myrtillus) - LifeSource Product
Take 160 mg two to three times daily of a 25 percent anthocyanosides
extract. Phytochemicals in bilberry protect the lens from
free radical damage.
Prescription #5 B
complex - LifeSource
Take a 50 mg complex daily. Vitamins B2 and B3 have been
shown to have a protective effect against cataracts.
Prescription # 6 Vitamin
E - LifeSource
This potent antioxidant protects against free radical
damage. Take 400 IU of a vitamin E complex with tocotrienols
Prescription #7 Beta
Carotene Mixes Carotenoid complex - LifeSource
Take 25,000 IU one to two times daily. It provides lutien,
zeaxthanin, beta carotene, and other carotenoids that
protect the lens.
are painless and usually progress in the following order:
Temporary improvement of farsightedness
Changes in color perception
Difficulty driving at night
Blurring of larger objects
to ultraviolet or infrared light
Poor diet, especially one low in antioxidants
Long-term use of steroids
to prevent or reverse cataracts can require some dedication
at first. Once you’ve established healthful eating habits,
however, you’ll not only improve your eye health, you’ll
reduce your risk of developing almost every other disease we
commonly associate with aging.
diet around deeply colored fruits and vegetables, which are
the best known sources of antioxidants, the substances that
fight free radical damage. Of the antioxidants, the carotenoids
are most important for eye problems. Good sources of carotenoids
are dark-green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, yellow squash,
carrots, tomatoes, celery, oranges, red grapes, mangoes, and
spinach and kale, as these foods are high in the carotenoids
lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids have been reported
to lower the risk of developing cataracts.
are also rich in carotenoids.
C and bioflavonoids work in combination to fight free radical
damage. In addition, they improve the tissues and the capillaries
of the eye. Good sources of bioflavonoids include berries, cherries,
tomatoes, and plums; for vitamin C, eat plenty of citrus fruits.
Foods to Avoid
from your diet all fried foods, as well as those that contain
saturated, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated fats or oils.
Refined and processed foods, including white flour, are also
out of the question. All of these foods are high in free radicals,
the atoms that destroy your body’s cells—and your
puts a heavy burden on the liver and impairs its ability to
detoxify your blood, so avoid it.
doctors have noted a link between cataracts and an inability
to digest milk sugars properly. While no one has proven a connection
between dairy and eye disorders, it seems prudent for people
with cataracts to eliminate milk products from their diet.
As we age,
our organs of detoxification lose some of their potency. Support
your body’s ability to purge itself of free radicals by
undertaking a three-day juice fast once a month.
poisoning may cause or contribute to cataracts by preventing
antioxidants from doing their job. Consider getting a hair or
urine analysis to find out if you have metal poisoning; if you
do, be sure to fast regularly, and be sure to look into chelation
is a leading cause of free radical damage and a factor in
almost every disease we associate with “natural”
aging. If you smoke, stop. And if you don’t smoke, you
still need to make a conscious effort to avoid secondhand
Wear sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Try to avoid excursions that take place in the glare of the
Consider the use of intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy.
This provides a more aggressive treatment for cataracts.
For many people with cataracts, surgery is a real option.
If the cataract is caught early enough, a doctor can remove
the entire lens and replace it with a plastic one. The operation
is not painful, and it has a high rate of success. As always,
it’s best to try to avoid invasive procedures by employing
complementary healing strategies, but if you experience significant
loss of vision, surgery may be the only way to restore sight.
Talk to your doctor about your options.