As we age, our eyes undergo natural wear and tear, resulting in the clouding of the eye’s natural lens – cataract. It’s a normal part of the aging process and by the age of 80, nearly 50 percent of all adults will develop a cataract in one or both eyes. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among adults 55 and older. So, it’s no wonder why so many people are asking the question – Is there a way to prevent cataracts?
How Vitamin C can Help Lower Your Risk of Cataracts
Some scientific studies have shown that moderate doses of vitamin C (60 to 250 milligrams) over time can help reduce the risk of cataracts in older adults. According to one recent study published in the journal Ophthalmology, individuals with diets involving vitamin C and roughly two servings of fruit and of vegetables daily were 20 to 33 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those who ate a less nutritious diet. Vitamin C supplements, however, were found to have little to no benefit.
“We found no beneficial effect from supplements, only from the vitamin C in the diet,” said Dr. Chris Hammond, the study’s lead author and chair of ophthalmology at King’s College. ”This probably means that it is not just vitamin C but everything about a healthy diet that is good for us and good for aging.”
This is why pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. James McDonnell recommends making a “colorful plate, especially with greens, blues, and reds.
“Certain foods have distinct benefits for the eyes in addition to overall health, including many of the trendy superfoods such as kale, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.”
Vitamin C is Just One Part of the Puzzle
According to Dr. Hammond, a person’s genetic makeup accounts for 35 percent of the risk of cataract progression, while diet and environmental factors account for the other 65 percent. So the best way to ensure your eyes stay healthy is still periodic, comprehensive eye exams. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that people between the ages of three and 39 have their eyes examined every couple of years. At the age of 40, everyone should have a baseline eye screening. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams. Seniors – over the age of 65 – should have complete eye exams every one to two years.
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The Anne Arundel Eye Center, led by board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, AAEC’s state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Nicole Kershner, Dr. Kathryn Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010. AAEC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will help guide you on your healing journey.