A nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential for living a healthy life, but adding a few extra vitamins and antioxidants to your nutrition plan can have more benefits than you may think.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment in Americans, as well as one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the U.S. with more than two million procedures done per year. Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens of the eye are damaged, causing the eyes to become ‘cloudy’ or opaque.
Reducing the Risk of Cataracts
Several factors can increase the risk of developing cataracts, among them include: age, genetics and ethnicity. While we have no control over these factors, there are some that we can control to reduce the risk of cataract development, such as not smoking, wearing hats or sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA/UVB rays and of course, eating a healthy diet.
How Diet Affects Cataracts
Recent studies have shown a promising link to preventing or delaying cataracts by eating a healthy diet. Vitamins C and E are the strongest protectants due to containing antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the lens of the eyes. Both are promising nutrients that can prevent the development of cataracts, and eating foods containing high amounts of both antioxidants are associated with a reduced need for cataract surgery.
According to the American Optometric Association, numerous studies have found strong evidence that vitamins C and E may decrease the development or progression of cataracts. One recent analysis from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that adding higher levels of vitamin C to the diet were associated with a lower risk of developing cataracts. You can read more about recent studies on cataracts on the AOA website.
Eating the recommended daily five servings of fruit and vegetables is the best and easiest way to incorporate more vitamins C and E into your diet. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not eat all five servings and in today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult find the best food sources on-the-go. If you believe you may be at risk for developing cataracts, consider adding a daily multivitamin and eye health supplements containing at least 75 mg of vitamin C and 15 mg of vitamin E to your diet.
Treating Cataracts in Baton Rouge
For those in the Baton Rouge area who are concerned about the development of cataracts or just want help in maintaining their vision and eye health, contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana, and request an appointment with any one of our dedicated ophthalmologists.