Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in Americans. Nutrient intake can minimize cataract progression and reduce risk for more cataracts.
When a cataract forms in the eye’s lens, the normally clear lens becomes cloudy. The result can be blurry, hazy or less colorful vision. Cataracts are one of the most common causes of impaired vision. Worldwide, the condition affects at least 20 million people and is responsible for 51 percent of blindness.1 Risk factors include older age, cigarette smoking, UV light exposure and diabetes.
The healthy eye has a mostly transparent lens. Much like a lens in a camera, the human lens will adjust for visual focus. The human lens in an eye directs light to the retina, where it is converted into signals that are sent to the brain. When proteins in the lens are damaged, a cataract forms.
Science show that lutein and zeaxanthin act as antioxidants and filters of blue light to protect the eyes. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), the largest study to-date to look at the effect of nutrition on age-related macular degeneration and cataract, tracked more than 4,000 people for five years at 82 different centers in the United States. AREDS2 participants were assigned into treatment groups, including one group with 10 mg FloraGLO Lutein® and 2 mg OPTISHARP® Zeaxanthin.
Analysis of the study found benefits for those who were consuming the lowest compared to the highest dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin at the start of the study. Those who had the lowest dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin experienced a statistically significant reduction in progression to cataract surgery, cataracts or severe cataracts compared to those who were not supplemented.2
A healthy diet, and for those at low dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, supplementation are measures to help maintaining a normal vision.In addition, sunglasses that specify 99% ultraviolet (UV) light protection are recommended.3 Once diagnosed, an eye health care professional can discuss treatment options for cataract, such as lens replacement.
1. WHO, 2010. http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en/index1.html.
2. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group (2013). JAMA Ophthalmol. 131: 843-850.
3. AAO, accessed July 2018. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/cataracts-treatment.