Can Anti-oxidants Prevents Cataracts?

By: Janet Martin

Can carotenoids a day keep cataracts away? While there is no definite answer yet, the evidence is growing that vitamin A or carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin may decrease the risk of cataracts in the same manner as the other antioxidant vitamins C and E.

This hypothesis doesn't sound so far fetched when you consider the fact that the lens of the eye is very vulnerable to free radical damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light - a destructive process that can be prevented by antioxidants.

Since all light entering the eye must pass through the lens, the latter is constantly bombarded by UV light. Over time, the lens becomes cloudy with age. As the cloudiness or cataract worsens, vision is gradually reduced until blindness sets in.

"The problem definitely gets worse with time. Between the ages of 52 and 64, about 5 percent of adults have some form of cataracts. Between 75 and 85, the number increases to 46 percent. Cataracts are one of the major causes of blindness in the elderly," according to the editors of Consumer Guide's "Complete Book of Vitamins & Minerals."

Cataracts are an important cause of disability in the elderly owing to progressive vision loss. Surgery to replace the damaged lens is generally considered if the patient feels uncomfortable, unsafe or is unable to perform daily tasks. In the United States alone, over a million extractions are performed yearly.

Until recently, the best advice doctors could give patients wary about cataracts is to avoid sunlight or wear a good pair of sunglasses to filter out harmful UV light. Now researchers are turning to dark green leafy vegetables for the answers. These foods are packed with antioxidants that are believed to prevent the development of cataracts.

Several studies seem to point in that direction. In one, an increased susceptibility to UV-induced cataract was found in a guinea pig deprived of vitamin C. Another showed that diabetic rats given vitamin C supplements were less likely to develop the disease.

What about human studies? One of the largest was made by the Harvard School of Public Health and involved 36,644 American male health professionals (i.e. dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, veterinarians, etc.) aged 45 to 75 years. The subjects were given a detailed dietary questionnaire to assess their intake of carotenoids and other nutrients. Follow-up questionnaires were mailed every two years to determine their health and learn if any of them had undergone cataract extraction.

At the end of the study, researchers found that intakes of antioxidant vitamin A or carotenoids were associated with a moderately decreased risk of cataract extraction. The foods that appear to exhibit this desirable effect were broccoli and spinach that are both rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.

A similar study among 77,466 female nurses aged 45 to 71 years old yielded the same results. Those with the highest intake of lutein and zeaxanthin had a 22 percent decreased risk of cataract extraction. Spinach and kale were cited as having the most beneficial effect.

Another way to bring back the sparkle in your eyes is to use Eyevive. This eye cream for men and women strengthens tiny vessels around the eyes to reduce the formation of dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness. Eyevive's powerful formula is packed with special ingredients enhanced with green tea extract, aloe and Pro-Vitamin B5 to give you a fresher and more vibrant look. For more information, visit

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