For many Canadians, cataracts are part of the normal aging process
For many Canadians, cataracts are part of the normal aging process. Approximately 1 in 49 Canadians will develop cataracts, largely because the lens of the human eye does not regenerate cells, regardless of the damage it receives over the years. This results in cataract symptoms, which include cloudy or blurry vision and halos around lights.
One of the greatest risk factors to developing cataracts is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a risk that grows as the ozone layer shrinks. Excessive UV exposure increases the rate of oxidative stress (free radical damage) in the lens.
Eating foods high in antioxidants, as well as foods rich in the vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex (such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and other green, leafy vegetables), will go a long way in the fight against cataracts. Long-term use of vitamin E and B-complex supplements may also reduce cataract progression, suggests a five-year study at Boston’s Tufts University related to the Nurses’ Health Study. But don’t forget the importance of wearing a broad-brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses when you’re outdoors.