A cataract is a sign that the natural processes of your body are breaking down on some level, and that the normal flow of nutrients into the eye and waste products out of the eye has been compromised.

Thus, in addition to conventional treatment, such as cataract surgery, it is vital to treat the underlying condition that causes the cataract.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts can be described as an opaque spot on the lens of the eye that doesn’t allow you to see through. You may have the feeling of looking through a cloud or a haze, and this haze can vary in size, density, and location. Therefore, the effect on your vision will also vary.

Many people experience a general reduction in the vision at first; they need more light to read or they have difficulty with street signs when they are driving. A cataract can also affect depth perception. This can be a particular danger to older people who may be at risk of falling down.

Conventional treatment

Cataracts tend to worsen over time. Only 15 percent of people are affected with cataracts by age 55, this figure jumps to 50 percent by age 75 and 90 percent by age 85. However, of all the eye conditions, cataracts are the most amenable to treatment by conventional methods.

The standard treatment is to remove the lens by a technique called phacoemulsification. A surgeon uses an ultrasonic beam to break up the lens and then vacuums up the pieces from the eye with a suction device. An artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, is inserted to replace the cataract lens.

As mentioned before, a cataract is a sign that the natural processes of your body are breaking down on some level, and that the normal flow of nutrients into the eye and waste products out of the eye has been compromised.

Thus, in addition to conventional treatment, it is vital to treat the underlying condition that causes the cataract. Even people preparing for cataract surgery should seek to improve their overall health before they go through this invasive procedure.

Because cataracts progress slowly over many years, there is usually time for preventive measures to be quite successful. In the early stages, it may not be necessary to have surgery. Nutritional and other complementary medical treatments can slow and even reverse the growth of cataracts.

What Causes Cataracts?

Most cataracts are caused by free radicals. Free radicals are natural byproducts of metabolism. These highly reactive chemicals cause oxidation, which in turn causes aging. As the lens of the eye ages, it hardens and loses its ability to focus. This process is similar to the hardening of the arteries, and it is often associated with similar changes in the joints.

Other things, however, can also cause cataracts. Among them we find:

  • Toxins and pharmaceutical drugs’
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Dental problems
  • Physical injury to the vertebrae or neck or any stress that reduces eye movement and increases muscle tension
  • Food allergies or sensitivities

Toxins that can cause cataracts

Many synthetic chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs can cause cataracts. Among them we find:

  • Steroids, both taken internally and those applied to the skin. Steroids block the normal functions of connective tissue of which the lens is made of.
  • Naphthalene (mothballs), acetone, nitrogen mustard, and paradichlorobenzene, an insecticide.
  • Tranquilizers, corticosteroids (such as Prednisone and cortisone), oral contraceptives, and pilocarpine and phosphocholine iodine, two drugs are taken by glaucoma patients.
  • Cigarette smoking. It causes about 20 percent of all cataracts.
  • Mercury. Mercury is found in high levels in people with cataracts. Mercury is retained in the lens longer than in any other tissue in the body because it binds to sulfur in protein and the lens has the densest protein in the body.
  • Cadmium, bromine, cobalt, iridium, nickel, iron, and lead are also implicated in cataract risk.
  • Mercury, which accumulates in tuna, swordfish, shark, striped bass and pike, is now considered a common trigger for cataracts.

Tomorrow will talk about what you can do to prevent or reverse cataracts.

Author

I am Andy Carpenter and I would start by saying that I have a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition Science conferred by California State University, Los Angeles and that I am certified as a Registered Dietitian.

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