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Prevent Cataracts with Antioxidants

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Two months ago, I noticed an abrupt change in my vision, a yellowing, increased halos around lights and blurriness in the corner of one eye. Though I hadn’t thought about it in years, snapshots of my grandmother, aunt and father wearing blockish, dark sunglasses flashed to my awareness. were not something I really worried about, but had I been more aware, perhaps I could have prevented or delayed them.

My optometrist discovered cataracts forming in both my eyes, though I notice problems in only one eye. I suddenly found myself feeling older and more vulnerable! Research showed me that there are things I can do to possibly slow the progression of my cataracts and put off surgery, so I thought I’d share my findings with you. It’s never too early to start. With my family history, I could have been more proactive. You may want to check with your family members. Most of my father’s family is gone now, but my surviving aunt, now in her 80’s, told me she had her first cataract surgery in her mid-50’s.

Cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment in the U.S. We can all be grateful for the advances in surgical techniques as well as lens corrections. (We won’t be condemned to coke bottle glasses!) Still, surgery has its risks, and prevention is always the best course, if possible.

First line of defense: Quit smoking, wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat in the sun, control other diseases, like diabetes and eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Protective Nutrition

There’s lots of evidence that  certain nutrients can prevent or slow the progression of cataracts, if taken long-term. They include antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin E and two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Most people don’t get enough vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein or zeaxanthin in their diets to reach the levels associated with benefits. The top lutein and zeaxanthin food sources (kale, collard greens, spinach and turnip greens) aren’t foods I eat or am interested in eating! ) So I plan to switch my regular Stop Aging Now multi to the Eye Support formula in an effort to slow my cataracts down and delay surgery, at least in the eye that seems unaffected right now.

For more specific information on cataract studies and nutrition, you can download an informative brochure at the American Optometric Association.

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: Vision is a precious asset, and one that is vulnerable to the effects of aging. There are things you can do to protect your eyes. It’s never too early or too late to start. Current research shows that vitamin C and E, plus lutein and zeaxanthin have a protective effect. If you can’t these nutrients on a daily basis from food, you should highly consider taking dietary supplements to get effective doses.

QUICK TIP: Some drugstore brand multi-vitamins boast that they include lutein and zeaxanthin, but look closely at the supplement facts label. Usually they contain doses far below what the clinical studies show to be effective. For lutein and zeaxanthin specifically, any supplement that lists these ingredients in micrograms (mcg) vs. milligrams (mg) most likely has an ineffective dose.

Written exclusively for Stop Aging Now, the authority on anti-aging research, anti-aging nutrition, and anti-aging supplements.


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Article updated on: June 2nd, 2008

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