As we age, it is important to get regular eye exams, during which the optometrist can diagnose a cataract. The risk of developing this clouding of the natural eye lens increases after age 60, but people as young as 40 or 50 are also known to get them. By age 80, half of all Americans have cataracts. Those with increased susceptibility include diabetics, smokers, and those who spend a great deal of time in the sun; however, a diet rich in carotenoids is thought to stave off cataracts. Symptoms include perception of muddied colors, compromised night vision, and increased sensitivity to glare. If cataracts do not seriously interfere with vision, a different eyeglass prescription may help improve vision. Carotenoids such as beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are found in dark leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, green peas, and nearly all dark green/yellow fruits and vegetables. The lens of the eye is mostly made of water and protein. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and cloud an area of the lens. This is a cataract.
Jun 05, 2012