A cataract is a white opaque blemish on the normally transparent lens of the eye. It occurs due to the free radical damage to the protein structure of the lens. Cataracts have emerged as the leading cause for poor and impaired vision and blindness, across the world.
What are the Causes of Cataract?
Senile cataract or age-related cataract develops when the normal protective mechanism of the eye is unable to prevent free radical damage. Adequate amounts of anti-oxidants in the food are highly essential to stave off oxidative damage and sustain optimum functioning of the lens.
Exposure to free radicals such as cigarette smoke or sunlight creates a higher demand for the vital nutrients, and in the absence of these nutrients, cataract develops.
Specific proteins present in the lens are necessary for maintaining visual clarity. The structures of these lens proteins get altered over a period of time, eventually leading to a gradual opacity or cloudiness of the lens. Cataracts can be removed through eye surgery, after which the doctor can prescribe wearing affordable contact lenses for keeping the clear vision.
Cataracts can develop at birth (congenital cataract) or can occur prematurely in early childhood, due to hereditary/genetic enzyme defects, an eye surgery, acute trauma to the eye, or intraocular inflammation.
Excessive exposure to UV light, certain medications, like, oral or topical steroids, smoking, and diabetes are other strong contributing factors.
Food Prescriptions to Prevent Cataract
Supplementing the daily diet with certain foods which supply important anti-oxidants that prevent free radical damage to the lens is the most important aspect of checking the development of this eye disorder.
In addition to eating a wholesome and nutritious diet, those individuals who have a strong predisposing factor to the development of cataract ought to also use supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium.
The following foods provide the body with liberal amounts of the necessary nutrients and battle cataract effectively.
- Carrots: Carrots promote good vision. Beta carotene present in abundance in the vegetable protects the eyes from senile cataracts. Additionally, carrots supply vitamin C and glutathione, both of which are indispensable for optimum vision.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, both of which are essential for healthy eyes. It is also a very rich source of lutein, which helps check the development of age-related cataract and lens degeneration by protecting the lens from oxidative damage. Broccoli cuts down the risk of developing cataract drastically.
- Spinach: Spinach is one of the richest sources of lutein, which supports healthy eyesight and prevents cataracts. What’s more, spinach provides loads of glutathione. Glutathione is found in high concentrations in the eye lens, where it plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy vision. Glutathione functions as a powerful anti-oxidant, it supports the structure of the lens proteins and participates in amino acid and vital mineral transport. Also, important to remember is that the glutathione level is higher in raw spinach as against cooked spinach.
Individuals who have a family history of cataract, those who are diabetic, and smokers ought to take additional care and enhance their daily diet with these foods to avert the development of cataract and consequent blindness as well as wearing prescription glasses and colored weekly contacts for vision correction.