The main lens in the human eye is normally transparent and almost a perfect lens; one of its main functions is in the refraction of light rays onto the screen like organ within the eye called the retina, this property of the lens allows us to see normally, this particular property of the lens is also the physical reason which allows to form a clear image in our brain and thus we can be said to posses vision, 20/20 or otherwise, due to a variety of when the proteins in the lens break down, they clump together and form opaque spots called cataracts. These spots hinder light from being transmitted properly to the retina, and vision becomes blurry, cloudy. The degree of debilitated vision depends on the size of cataracts, location on the lens, and density.
The unfortunate formation of cataracts starts and can develop not only as a result of age-related physical and chemical changes, but also new research shows that most of cases can be ascribed to the detrimental effects of smoking and in other cases to a life spent in daily exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sunlight. There is also a belief that antioxidants low level within the body (selenium, beta-carotene, and vitamins E and C) may contribute to and also could be an element in the early onset of cataracts in the lens. Free radicals are responsible for much damage to the body's proteins and if there is a good ratio of anti-oxidants to free radicals in the body, then these constituents can eliminate free radicals - which are essentially unstable oxygen molecules-that can damage the proteins in the lens. Within the lens itself and in all normal lenses, the lens itself has a viable accumulation of glutathione, which is an effective and powerful antioxidant brought out by our body for its defense. The lens may be affected in cases where glutathione levels fall off, additionally being overweight or having diabetes increases the risk of cataract formation in middle age, because of this very reason is the leading cause of blindness in many people who are diabetic, the reason being that very high sugar level (glucose) in our blood add to the destruction of proteins in the lens, cataracts form and blindness results.
Supplements and herbs
One of the best way to fortify oneself against the risk of cataract formation in later age, is to use herbal based supplements because it has been shown along with a healthy lifestyle that the intake of supplements, both mineral and herbal before a disease comes may slow down development of cataracts or prevent it. If cataract formation is in the very beginning effective and daily utilization of supplements in the diet may retard its growth and prevent it from becoming unmanageable. Once formed, however, cataracts can only be physically removed through surgery and that too is effective only in the early stages. Most vitamins make good dietary supplements and both vitamin C and vitamin E, can act and are considered potent antioxidants in the fight against free radicals, they may also protect the lens from damage sustained from cigarette smoke and over exposure to UV light. The mineral selenium, is another antioxidant, which can also help in the neutralization of free radicals within the body. Herbal based supplements and essences are also extremely effective as preventive measures, for example the herb bilberry is rich in flavonoids, these compounds are known to prevent the degeneration of the lens and the retina. One recent and new study indicates that, bilberry combined with the vitamin E may have stopped the progression of cataract formation in the lens in 48 of 50 participants in the study.
Indeed a combination of supplements, both herb based and mineral usually provides adequate cataract protection; there are other herbs that however have been shown to be equally effective in prevention of cataracts, the following nutrients are known to be good bets: a good example is the herbal wonder root called ginkgo biloba, that is known to improve circulation within the body and has a strong antioxidant effect, ginkgo biloba can also be used as a substitute for bilberry, if the former is unavailable. The herb ginkgo is a good choice for people who are already using it to aid in memory problems as it also helps minimize antioxidants in the body. Naturally occurring substances in the body such as alpha-lipoic acid have shown promise as a cataract busters and these substances are also known to boosts the effectiveness of other minerals and supplements vitamins C and E. In fact grape seed extract can have a therapeutic impact on even the most miniscule of blood vessels, and since it aids in the blood and fluid circulation in the eyes it is also considered a good choice as a herbal preventive remedy. One can also consider mixing flaxseed oil the diet as; it is known to be rich in the essential fatty acids which help nourish the eye's. The B-complex vitamin, riboflavin (vitamin B2) is also considered an important supplement and it is good preventive practice to take a multivitamin dosage in the diet or a B-complex supplement that contains all the necessary types of B vitamins.
Some of the herbal remedies listed below have been proven and are effective in a large number of preventive cases of cataract formation in the eye's, some of them are given here to present a few of the possibilities homeopathy as a system of holistic healing can offer. This list is not a suggestion for self-healing however. In a holistic sense a constitutional remedy chosen and administered by an experienced person is the best and most effective way to aid a person with a chronic condition which might still be mitigated in some way.
- Calcarea carb.
Calcarea carb. is to be used as a remedy only in cases where a person already has cataract formation has the feeling of looking through a mist or has fuzzy vision. Such a person might be a responsible type, nevertheless he/she may have the feeling of being overwhelmed and under great stress and may have fears of a complete nervous breakdown or impending disease in the body. The symptoms typically may include a feeling of chilliness, physical aspects like swollen glands, the person may also experience weight problems, and he or she may get tired and exhausted very easily, for all these symptoms Calcarea carbonica is the best.
- Calcarea fluor.
Calcarea fluor. is used where tissues have hardened and or have thickened abnormally. The patient may have hard and swollen lymph nodes, acute joint pains, inexplicable fibrous growths in the body, or the formation of bone spurs. The person may be affected by changes in the weather and may be affected badly by cool or cold weather and could possibly desire warmer weather.
Causticum is to be prescribed only in cases where the person has developed cataracts and also has problems moving the eyes or moving the eyeballs, if symptoms indicate and the patient feels the muscles around the eyeballs stiffening or weakening-especially in cool weather. There may be a gritty feeling in the eyes as if sand were present in the eyes. The muscles also may be stiff around bones and joints. Such a person will feel his condition worsen in warmer weather, and on the other hand may feel better in damp or rainy weather.
- Natrum mur.
Natrum mur. may only be prescribed where cataracts have already begun to develop. Their may be a feeling that the muscles around the eyes are bruised and weak, this may happen especially when the person looks downward. He or she might feel their eye's as being covered by gauze, and may have a hard time focusing on all fields of vision. The person may crave salty food, and be irritable in sunlight, and may appear to be moody and reserved.
Phosphorus can only be prescribed to persons who feel that their vision is being obstructed by dust or particles of mist, they may also experience a soreness in the eyes that may be persistent. They may sometimes see little bright dots of colored light when they close their eyes. People who need such prescriptions may be in a sentimental mood and may crave for companionship and will be generally fond of company, but they will also tire easily. They also tend to posses an active and fanciful imagination including strong fears and phobias and in addition they may have a strong desire for chilled liquids and eatables, these are other indications of people who need a prescription of Phosphorous.
Silicea is to be prescribed only to individuals who have a strain on their eyes and have developed cataracts over a long period of time, people who need this treatment tend to feel cold and suffer in cool weather though they often sweat at nighttime. These people also tend to have a very low resistance to infection. Such people tend to have very fine hair, friable and weak nails, they suffer from constant tiredness, and develop and suffer from swollen lymph nodes, these are other signs suggesting the usage of Silicea is necessarily and should be given.
Additional things you may do
Wear sunglasses and a hat when outdoors. Protect your eyes from UV rays. Stop smoking. Eat lot of fresh vegetables and fruits; they are great sources of antioxidants.
- Bilberry, 80 mg three times daily. Standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides.
- Ginkgo biloba, 40 mg three times daily. Standardized to have at least 24% flavone glycosides.
- Flaxseed oil, 1 table spoon daily. Take in the morning; can be mixed with food.
- Grape seed extract, 100 mg two times daily. Standardized to contain 92%-95% proanthocyanidins.
- Vitamin C, 1,000 mg two times daily. If diarrhea develops, reduce the dose.
- Vitamin E, 400 IU daily. If taking anticoagulant medications, check with your doctor.
- Selenium, 200 mcg daily. Doses higher than 400 mcg daily may be toxic.
- Alpha-lipoic acid, 150 mg daily. Can be taken with or without food in the morning.
Other beneficial herbs