Envision Your Healthy Eyes Over 50: Preventing Cataracts

healthy eyes

Did you know that as we age, a world of changes take place behind our baby blues — or browns, greens and hazels? It’s true: those two tiny spheres we observe life through contain a universe of their own which is constantly evolving.

  • Cataracts, in particular, is one of the most common diseases to affect our eyes, with as many as half of all adults worldwide experiencing cataracts symptoms by the time they reach age 65.
  • According to the NHS, as many as 10 million cataracts surgeries are performed worldwide each year, even though surgery can sometimes be avoided or delayed with good prevention.

As the adage goes, our eyes are the windows to our souls. But just like a real window, time can take its toll. But how do you turn back time? In addition to simple lifestyle changes, studies show that antioxidants can help age-related eye conditions 1. So it may be easier than you think to help keep your eyes healthy and looking out at life, not up at a surgeon!

Here is a window view into four of the most common conditions you may experience over the age of 50 and what you can do to prevent and manage them.

A window on cataracts

A cataract is a gradual clouding of the eye’s natural lens because of age-related changes in the lens protein. What precisely causes cataracts is something of a mystery.

Traditionally, the only way to put your world back into focus again after cataracts has been through invasive surgery.

How cataracts can change your vision

Some symptoms of cataracts may seem like “just getting older,” such as trouble reading or seeing at night. But you may also notice:

  • blurred or double vision
  • halos around bright lights
  • problems with depth perception.

How to prevent cataracts

Primarily, the best way to prevent cataracts is to protect your eyes from the sun, eat well, and watch your weight. In addition, research has shown2 that a powerful antioxidant, N-acetylcarnosine (NAC), has the potential to help by:

  • slowing or even reversing the development of senile cataracts
  • preventing the build-up of lipid proteins on the eye lens — think of it as a window cleaner for the eye
  • improving clarity of vision (vision acuity)
  • reducing glare sensitivity

How to treat cataracts

Surgery has traditionally been the only treatment for cataracts. During the procedure, a cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial one. Procedures to treat cataracts can be carried out under a local anesthetic or sometimes under general anesthetic for patients who feel especially anxious.

While cataract surgery is a common and usually routine procedure, it may lead to certain complications such as a build-up of cells around the artificial lens. Sometimes these cell build-ups require further surgery.

Fortunately, the promising outcome of studies into NAC2, 3 as a safe and non-invasive alternative to surgery has led to a simple eye drop treatment that you can use at home as a part of your daily routine.

Leading biophysicist, Dr. Mark Babizhayev, who pioneered the use of NAC as an effective cataract treatment, has approved only Can-C eye drops as a way to reduce, reverse and slow senile cataracts. Can-C is the original pure NAC formula, which exactly replicates the combination of ingredients used in extensive clinical research trials.

A window on glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure inside the eye damages or weakens the optic nerve and vision begins to deteriorate.

How glaucoma can change your vision

You may not notice much in the most common type of glaucoma, chronic open angle glaucoma, as it begins in the outer eye and moves in. But seek medical advice if you:

  • can’t see well peripherally
  • have trouble seeing through your central vision.

How to prevent glaucoma

Because the onset of glaucoma is so gradual, it’s important to have an eye exam:

  • at least every two years
  • more frequently if you have a family history.

The good news for those at risk for glaucoma is that research is ongoing to demonstrate how antioxidants1, and specifically NAC3, may help prevent the onset of glaucoma and benefit the aging eye.

How to treat glaucoma

Fortunately, a range of glaucoma treatment options are available when it’s caught early, including:

  • eye drops
  • laser treatment
  • surgery.

A window on macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a malfunction of the macula, or part of the eye responsible for central vision. The two types are “Dry AMD,” the most common, and “Wet AMD.” Dry AMD is caused by a build-up of waste in the eye, while Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood cells. Vision loss usually takes years in the first case, but as quickly as only days in the latter.

How macular degeneration can change your vision

AMD affects our vision by making:

  • text more difficult to bring into focus
  • colors less vibrant
  • faces unrecognizable.

How to prevent macular degeneration

While your age and family history often determine whether or not you will have AMD, you can reduce your risks if you:

  • eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially the green and leafy ones
  • stub out the cigarettes
  • reduce alcohol consumption
  • wear sunglasses with U.V. protection.

Research into antioxidants1 and NAC3 indicate their value in preventing oxidative stress, a factor in AMD.

How to treat macular degeneration

Laser surgery and medication can be used to treat some forms of macular degeneration, although there is currently no cure for the disease.

A window on low vision

You may be lucky enough to avoid the diseases above, but your eyes will still start feeling their age and not be quite as sharp as they used to be.

How to tell if you’re suffering from low vision

A range of small nuisances will begin to rear their heads as you reach your 50s, or even a few years before. Among them are:

  • trouble focusing on small print
  • difficulty seeing in low light
  • more glare from sun or bright lights
  • cloudy vision
  • occasional dry eyes.

How to prevent low vision

These symptoms are signs that your eyes need a little more help to do their job and can be minimized if you:

  • brighten your light blubs and position light more closely to your reading material
  • adjust your computer screen to be slightly below eye level and no further than 24 inches from your eyes
  • lubricate with eye drops and pause occasionally to blink and focus on a distant object
  • protect your eyes from harmful U.V. rays with sunglasses and brimmed hats
  • intimidate your crossword partner by pulling out the magnifying glass!

How to treat low vision

Managing low vision is as simple as keeping up sensible eye hygiene:

  • have regular eye exams to check for signs of any disease, at least once every two years
  • wear corrective lenses with the appropriate strength.

Remember, our eyes are the windows to our souls. To keep those windows clear and vibrant throughout your life, just follow these healthy lifestyle tips and keep up to date with ever-growing research into products containing antioxidants and NAC. Here’s looking at you: all-seeing, all-knowing and youthful-eyed.

References

1. Rhone M, Basu A. Phytochemicals and age-related eye diseases. Nutrition Reviews. 2008; 66(8): 465-472

2. Babizhayev MA, Deyev AI, Yermakova VN, et al. Efficacy of N-acetylcarnosine in the treatment of cataracts. Drugs in R&D. 2002; 3(2): 87-103.

3. Babizhayev MA1, Burke L, Micans P, et al. N-Acetylcarnosine sustained drug delivery eye drops to control the signs of ageless vision: glare sensitivity, cataract amelioration and quality of vision currently available treatment for the challenging 50,000-patient population. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2009; 4: 31-50.