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Studies show that most people, if they live long enough, will develop cataracts. Cataracts impair vision by the progressive clouding of the lens of the eye. This is caused by damage to the protein of the lens of the eye.

You are more likely to develop cataracts if you smoke, have diabetes, are exposed to excessive sunlight, have low blood levels of antioxidants or you eat a diet low in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

There are three major antioxidants in the lens of the eye that are important for healthy vision. These are vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione, an antioxidant enzyme. All three work together in a chain reaction - vitamin C activates vitamin E, which in turn activates glutathione.

As we age the vitamin C levels in our eyes decrease, increasing our risk of cataract. However, several studies have shown that by taking a vitamin C supplement, we can prevent this decrease and lower our risk of developing cataracts.

Studies have also shown that taking a vitamin E supplements can also protect us against cataracts and many people take 400 IU of vitamin E per day as prevention.

Eating a diet that includes plenty of foods rich in beta-carotene or by supplementing with vitamin A has also been shown to lower the risk of cataracts. Although as yet it is unsure whether beta-carotene itself protects the eye or if the beta-carotene is found in foods that contain other protective nutrients. It has been found that people who eat lots of spinach appear to be at low risk for cataracts, spinach is high in lutein, a nutrient similar to beta-carotene.

Older people who take 3 mg of vitamin B2 and 40 mg of vitamin B3 per day seem also to be partly protected against cataracts. Both B2 and B3 are needed to protect glutathione and studies have linked vitamin B2 deficiency with an increased risk of cataracts.

Particularly helpful for diabetics may be the flavonoid quercetin. This may help reduce the risk of cataracts by helping to block sorbitol accumulation in the eye.

The herb Bilberry may be helpful in reducing the risk of cataract. Bilberry is a close relative of the blueberry, and is high in the bioflavonoid complex anthocyanosides. This potent antioxidant can reduce our risk of cataract by protecting both the lens and the retina from oxidative damage. Oxidative stress, particularly from exposure to ultraviolet light, appears to play a central role in cataract development. Anthocyanosides also helps with adaptation to bright light and can improve night vision. Many people take a 240-480 mg per day of bilberry extract, capsules, or tablets standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides. 

So to minimize your risk of developing cataracts wear sunglasses outside during the day, quit smoking, and eat plenty of citrus fruits, peppers and dark green leafy vegetables and include the supplements listed below.
Supplements That May Help Cataract
Vitamins Herbs
Vitamin C Bilberry
Vitamin E
Vitamin A/Beta-Carotene
B-Complex – including B2 & B3

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