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Cataracts? Take vitamin C and see

Gerald w. Deas M.D. | , Mph | 12/3/2012, 1:31 p.m.
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The most important part of a camera is the lens. To keep the lens from becoming damaged and blurred, the photographer must make sure it is always protected from outside forces.

Although the human eye is very complicated with many moving parts, one of the most important components is the lens. If the lens is damaged in any way, the image will be blurred. As we age, the lens of the eye, which is made up of finely arranged proteins, can be damaged by such things as cigarette smoke, ultraviolet rays--too much sun--and small reactive particles known as free radicals which are produced in our body by chemical reactions. When the lens is subjected to these destructive forces, the proteins begin to clump together, which leads to clouding of the lens. As the clumping continues, a cataract is formed, leading to poor vision.

Now, it is obvious that cataracts can be prevented to some degree by wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect the lens from the sun. Smoking cessation can also reduce cataract formation. Unfortunately, we have no control over the formation of free radicals produced by chemical reactions in the body. We can, however, prevent the damaging effects of these particles by taking nutrients known as free radical absorbers or antioxidants.

Vitamins A, C and E are known to be powerful antioxidants and have been shown to prevent the formation of cataracts. Recent studies have shown that vitamin C can definitely slow down the formation of cataracts. This very important vitamin is found abundantly in avocados, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, green tea, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, grapes, onions, spinach and tomatoes. It is unfortunate, however, that many of these nutritious foods have been replaced with fast foods, in which vitamin C may be lacking. I therefore suggest taking a supplement of 500 to 1,000 mg of sustained-release vitamin C daily.

If you feel that your vision is failing, be sure to seek the advice of an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) in your area. An aging and cloudy lens can be replaced readily with an artificial lens to restore normal eyesight. Most importantly, remember to take your vitamin C and I am sure your sight will be preserved.