The Prevention and Treatment of Cataracts

A cataract is an opaque (cloudiness) build-up of damaged proteins in the lens, which constitutes the leading cause of visual decline in those over 65. Free radical damage is believed to play a major role in the development of cataracts. They are more likely to occur in those who smoke, have diabetes, or are exposed to excessive sunlight. Cataracts usually develop slowly without any pain or redness of the eye. The most common symptoms of a cataract are fuzzy or blurred vision, increasing need for light when reading or doing other close work, visual disturbances caused by bright lights (e.g., sunlight, car headlights), faded color perception, poor night vision, and frequent need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. There is substantial evidence that supplementation with certain antioxidant vitamins can reduce the risk of cataract development and slow down the progression of existing cataracts.

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