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Natural Eye Care - Treatment And Prevention Of Cataracts

Cataract is a disease which involves clouding of the crystalline lens of the eyes. The lens is an important structure as it is responsible for focusing light onto the photoreceptors in the retina. Cataract varies in severity from mild to complete opacity of the lens, thereby obstructing the passage of light. This condition is relatively common in older people. In fact by the age of 80, it is estimated that more than half of the population of the United States will either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

In majority of cases, cataracts progress slowly and as they grow in size they cause vision loss and are potentially blinding once left untreated. Both eyes are usually affected but one eye is almost always affected earlier than the other. Cataracts are generally classified as one of three types. A subcapsular cataract typically starts at the back of the lens. People who are at risk for developing this type include those with diabetes, severe hyperopia (farsightedness), retinitis pigmentosa or those who are taking high doses of steroids. Another type is called nuclear cataract which develops in the center of the lens as people age. The third type is called cortical cataract, which forms in the periphery of the lens and slowly extends to the center. This type is commonly seen in patients with

Cataract Symptoms

A cataract starts out small and has little effect on vision but as the lens become more opaque, vision is blurred a little. Ultimately, clear vision is compromised and there is a significant loss of visual acuity. There is also a concurrent loss of contrast sensitivity wherein contours, shadows and color vision become less vivid. A cataract can also make light appear too bright or glaring due to its scattering inside the affected eye. Patients who drive at night will also notice that oncoming headlights cause more glare than before. In high risks groups such as diabetics, a 'halo' may be observed around lights at night and this condition is normally confined to one eye. The red reflex will be absent and colors may not appear as bright as they once did. As a rule, the type of cataract present dictates which symptoms will be experienced and how early they will manifest. During the early stages of a nuclear cataract, there may be a temporary improvement in near vision, called "second sight." However, this is short-lived and will disappear as the cataract develops. As for subcapsular cataract, it may not cause any symptoms until its advanced stages. Other notable symptoms of this eye disease include double vision, poor night vision, frequent increases in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions and white or "milky" spot over the pupil of the eye.

Cataract Treatment

When symptoms start to appear, patients can temporarily improve vision by using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification or other visual aids and eye care products. Once cataracts have progressed enough to seriously impair vision, surgery is the best treatment option. Cataract surgery is a simple and relatively painless procedure yet it is very effective in restoring vision. In fact, it is the most frequently performed surgery in the U.S., with over three million Americans undergoing cataract surgery annually.

The surgery is commonly performed by making an incision into the capsule of the cloudy lens in order to remove it. Two types of cataract surgery can be done to remove the defective lens:  extracapsular cataract extraction, or ECCE and intracapsular cataract extraction, or ICCE. In either case, the lens is removed and replaced with a clear plastic intraocular lens implant. The surgery is usually performed as an out-patient procedure using a local anaesthetic. As with any other surgical techniques, complications are possible following cataract surgery. The most common complications include endophthalmitis, retinal detachment and posterior capsular opacification.

Mangosteen Help for Cataracts

Among the five essential senses, vision is arguably the most important. The human body has been specifically designed to receive information from its immediate environment from visual stimuli. As people age, the eyes become susceptible to degenerative changes that accompany the natural aging process. Cataracts are the prime example of such changes and they can be caused by a combination of a variety of factors. These include lifestyle (smoking and excessive alcohol intake), excessive exposure to UV rays, other diseases that affect vision (diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders), vitamin deficiencies, fatty acid intolerance and side-effects of medications.

Some experts also claim that the most crucial factor that leads to the development of cataracts as people age is poor nutrition. This is particularly true considering the fact that cataract usually take its toll during the latter years of life when people become susceptible to malnutrition due the decline in the bodies capability to absorb all the essential nutrients from the diet. This is where mangosteen can prove to be extremely beneficial as it contains essential vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Phosphorous, Polysaccharides, Potassium, Stilbenes, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C. In addition, mangosteen is loaded with powerful anti-oxidants called xanthones which can prevent damage to the lens caused by harmful free radicals. There are 200 types of xanthones known to man and mangosteen has 40 of those. This makes mangosteen truly unique and there is simply no food source in the planet that can rival its quantity of beneficial phytonutrients. This means that early and continuous intake of mangosteen supplements can effectively address the nutritional deficiency commonly seen in old age, thereby preventing the onset and development of cataracts.

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Cataracts and glaucoma are the result of radiation damage to the lens proteins in the eye. These conditions can be prevented by avoiding sun exposure and by supplementation with effective antioxidants such as those contained in mangosteen.

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