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Dietary Supplementation Reduces Risk of Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. It affects your vision. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all people in the United States either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Common symptoms are:

    • Blurry vision
    • Colors that seem faded
    • Glare
    • Not being able to see well at night
    • Double vision
    • Frequent prescription changes in your eye wear

Cataracts usually develop slowly. New glasses, brighter lighting, anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses can help at first. Surgery is also an option. It involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataracts.

Macular degeneration or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of gradual, painless, central vision loss in the elderly. Previously known as "senile macular degeneration," the name has been changed to age-related macular degeneration, (ARMD), due to the unflattering reference to advanced age. The average age at onset of visual loss is about 75 years. After the age of 50 years, the incidence steadily increases; over one-third of people in their ninth decade of life are affected.

The objective of this study was to evaluate studies which regarded the effects of dietary supplementation on visual performance, development and progression of AMD and risk for cataracts. The source used to obtain studies with information about dietary supplementation, AMD and cataracts was through PubMed. The results were both observational and prospective interventional studies generally supported that dietary supplements including lutein and zeaxanthin significantly decreased the risk of AMD and the development of cataracts. In conclusion the researchers stated “The multiple benefits of dietary supplementation support the development and use of these preparations to promote optimal visual function and decrease risk for AMD and cataracts.”1

1 Barker FM. Dietary supplementation: effects on visual performance and occurrence of AMD and cataracts. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010.