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Cataracts

General characteristics

General characteristics

A cataract is a whitish grey cloudiness that develops in the lens of one or both eyes. The lens is a fluid filled structure composed mainly of water and proteins and when the structure of these proteins change, as a result of oxidation perhaps, cataracts occur and the cloudiness appears. A cataract does not, as many people believe, form on the outside of the eye.
Vision will often present with a diminished perception of colors, a sense of being dazzled by bright lights and eventually become blurred and impaired.  Cataracts can develop gradually or rapidly and can present with a variety of visual symptoms depending on its location within the lens and the stage of development.
They are more commonly a feature of old age but can also be caused from many other factors including exposure to radiation, certain medications such as statins and steroids, diabetes, smoking, as a birth defect, other eye diseases and eye traumas.
Conventional treatment consists of the surgical removal of the affected lens and replacement with an artificial one.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

To prevent the formation or progression of cataracts it is vital to consume foods containing natural anti-oxidants. Most vegetables and fruits contain them to some degree but the ones highest include the so called 'superfoods' such as blueberries and all the dark and brightly coloured fruits, all the dark green leafy vegetables, carrots and any foods rich in vitamin E.

A diet high in carbohydrates is thought to increase the risk of cataract formation according to a report in the June 2010 edition of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science so keep a close eye on your carb consumption, particularly refined carbohydrates like white flour products and baked pastry goods.

Keep salt consumption to a minimum.

Avoid all processed and hydrogenated fats and oils as these act as free radicals in the body and cause the oxidation and break down of valuable proteins within the body.

Eat 'good' fats and oils in the form of unprocessed whole nuts, grains and seeds.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Wash your eyes twice daily with freshly squeezed lemon juice, it sounds crazy but it has been known to reverse the formation of cataracts, especially if you begin treatment in the early stages of their formation. Yes, it does sting a bit but it will not harm your eyes or vision at all. In fact quite the opposite. Keep your eyes shut whilst the lemon juice is in them and allow the tears to wash the juice all around the surface of the eyes. You can dilute the juice with a few drops of boiled, cooled water then gradually increase the concentration of lemon juice as you get used to it.
Take a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk each day perhaps before bed. Turmeric has remarkable healing effects on the membranes and structures of the eyes and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins.
You can make a tea to use as a wash including some or all of the following herbs, marigold, eyebright, bilberries, bayberry bark, raspberry leaf with a pinch of golden seal and cayenne powders.
Burdock burrs (the seed heads) can be drunk as a tea daily and is a very old remedy. Use a small handful of seed heads, bring to the boil in a pan of half a pint of water and turn off the heat. Strain off an eggcup full and drink 3 of these a day.
Drink a tea of equal parts of ginkgo and bilberries for the positive effects on blood circulation and high antioxidant content. Use a heaped teaspoon per cup and drink 2 cups daily.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Protect your eyes from bright sunlight with high protection sunglasses or by wearing a hat.
Do not smoke as this increases the likelihood of cataract formation.
Take a teaspoon of cider vinegar with honey in some water twice daily.
Taking statins may increase your risk of developing cataracts by up to 27%.

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