Cataracts: causes, symptoms and treatments
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye leading to a decrease in vision. It can affect one or both eyes. Often it develops slowly. Poor vision may also result in an increased risk of falling and depression. Cataracts are the cause of half of blindness and 33% of visual impairment worldwide. Cataracts are most commonly due to aging, but may also occur due to trauma, radiation exposure, be present from birth, or occur following eye surgery for other problems.
About 20 million people globally are blind due to cataracts. It is the cause of about 5% of blindness in the United States and nearly 60% of blindness in parts of Africa and South America. Blindness from cataracts occurs in about 10 to 40 per 100,000 children in the developing world and 1 to 4 per 100,000 children in the developed world. Cataracts become more common with age. About half the people in the United States have had cataracts by the age of 80.
The transparent lens of the eye is made up of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a manner that permits the lens to remain clear, thus allowing light to pass through it so that it may be focused on the retina.
However, the said arrangement of the protein tends to be disrupted as the person ages, causing a small part of the lens to end up cloudy. This is medically referred to as a cataract. Eventually, a cataract may become bigger and bigger until it leaves the person having a hard time to see.
Aside from the natural process of aging, medical experts also believe that there are a few other probable causes of cataracts. Some of them include smoking and diabetes, both of which can impede the proper circulation of blood in the eye area. It is also said that prolonged exposure to sunlight may also cause cataracts to develop.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
- Clouded, blurred or dim vision
- Increasing difficulty with vision at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing “halos” around lights
- Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
- Fading or yellowing of colors
- Double vision in a single eye
At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to signs and symptoms you’re more likely to notice.
Milk and almonds
Most people who have cataract have eyes that remain irritated and red. This itself is a serious problem to deal with. To remove the irritation let’s turn to the benefits of almonds and milk. Make sure that you are using unadulterated milk for this treatment or else better think of some other remedy.
Soak almonds overnight in the milk so that the nutrients penetrate the milk and fortify it. Apply the milk drops on the eyelids to reduce the redness of the eyes and general irritation. Consume the almonds for clear looking skin as well.
Berries have strong properties that are used for healing a number of life threatening diseases. Cataract is thankfully not life threatening. But if the haziness of vision can be removed with bilberry, nothing better than that actually! Bilberries are rich in anthocyanosides. These flavonoids protect the lens and retina of the eyes from the damage caused by oxidation.
Rosewater and lemon juice
Mix one teaspoon of rosewater(gulabjal) with one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Add 10 drops of this to the eyes. This remedy provides benefit if cataract is in the starting stage.
Ginger, lemon and onion
Take 10gm of ginger juice, 10gm of lemon juice, 10 gm of white onion juice and 50gm honey. Mix them properly and store in a clean bottle. Remember not to add water. Put two two drops of this liquid in each eye everyday. The liquid may be preserved for one month in freeze. Do not use it if you have had any eye operation.
Another approach is drinking a shot of strong wheatgrass juice daily along with the eyewashes. A study reported in the January 1, 2005 edition of Biogerontology showed 25 to 40 percent improvement in cataract impaired canines from taking wheatgrass juice orally for one month.