By Edward Rosick, DO, MPH, MS
By the age of 65, a shocking 30% of Americans suffer from drastic vision problems that are not correctable with glasses or contact lenses. The two most common causes of vision loss in older adults are cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
While millions of doctors and their patients view these insidious conditions as inevitable consequences of the aging process, Life Extension has long maintained that potent antioxidants can play a critical role in supporting healthy ocular function with aging.
Mainstream medicine is finally recognizing the critical link between eye health and nutrition. Recent articles in prestigious scientific publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and Ophthalmology verify the importance of antioxidant nutrients in preserving vision. Moreover, emerging studies indicate that suppressing levels of potentially dangerous C-reactive protein and homocysteine is likewise essential to maintaining eye health with aging.
Health-conscious adults can thus preserve their vision by using targeted nutritional remedies and managing the risk factors that directly threaten eye health. This well-rounded, preventive approach can help ensure healthy vision over the course of a lifetime.
The sense of sight is a wondrous gift of nature that begins at the moment of birth and ideally lasts a lifetime. As we age, however, both the lens and retina of the eye may suffer deterioration that can lead to near or even total blindness. Such problems affect nearly one third of elderly adults. Two of the most common eye diseases afflicting the elderly are cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Cataracts Are Not Inevitable
Most people in their sixties or seventies know someone who has had cataract surgery. Because cataracts are so common, many people assume that they are another inevitable consequence of aging. However, with a few essential precautions and the judicious use of targeted nutritional supplements, this does not have to be the case at all.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye lens, which is mostly made up of protein and water. Although cataracts can begin to form before the age of 40, it is not until much later that they begin to adversely affect millions of older adults. As we grow older, new cells replace most of the cells in our bodies. However, the eye lens experiences no such cell turnover-thus the lens you are born with is the lens that will be with you the rest of your life.
Normally, light passes through the eye lens without distortion, as though the lens were made of perfectly clear glass. Over five or six decades, your eye lens can be damaged by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight, as well as by oxidative stress generated by free radicals. If this damage is significant enough, cataracts (which are actually “clumps” of protein in the lens) eventually form.
In their early stages, cataracts may not be much of a problem. Over years and decades, however, cataracts may grow larger, making it more difficult, or even impossible, to see clearly. According to people with cataracts, the visual sensation is like trying to look through a dirty, cloudy window…….
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By Edward Rosick, DO, MPH, MS