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Vitamin C May Lower Your Chances of Developing Cataracts

July 28, 2011

The effects that this helpful vitamin may have on your vision.

There is no doubt that taking proper care of your eyes and scheduling regular vision check-ups can be extremely beneficial to the long-term health of your eyesight. However, what many people do not realize is that some of the most important things that you can do for proper eye care involve simple day-to-day habits and preventative steps at home.

Just as you should take proper precaution towards protecting your skin from sunlight when outdoors, or towards maintaining a daily exercise routine in order to keep your body fit and healthy, you should also make certain changes to your daily life in order to maintain healthy vision.

While some of these changes may include wearing protective safety glasses when working in dangerous environments or properly shielding your eyes when in the sunlight, some protective precautions you can make to maintain healthy vision are as simple as adding in certain foods and vitamins to your diet.

In fact, there have been many recent studies conducted all around the world showing that people who have a higher intake of antioxidants, especially vitamin C, may have a lower risk of developing cataracts―a harmful vision condition which has no definite cause and is the leading cause of blindness in older adults in the United States.

However, in order to understand how vitamin C can improve your vision and help to lower your chances of developing cataracts, we must first understand the effects that this harmful disease has on our eyes.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is the clouding of an eye’s lens that can commonly cause vision problems in older individuals. This disease is typically formed with the protein fibers and water molecules that are located behind the pupil tend to split over time. This causes a clustering of fibers that block incoming light and cloud the lens. As these fibers and molecules continue to break down over time, the clouding becomes more and more prevalent, covering a larger part of the lens.

When a cataract forms and clouds the lens of the eye, it blocks the passage of light coming in. This can cause a person’s eyesight to become blurry and may distort the eye’s vision, especially when outside on bright, sunny days or when driving in the evening.

How Can Vitamin C Protect Against Cataracts?

Many different studies have shown that vitamin C can have various positive, protective effects on vision and eyesight. In a new study conducted in India, researchers evaluated more than 5,600 Indian adults over the age of 60 on their diet and lifestyle habits, their blood levels of vitamin C, and their overall history of cataracts.

They found that nearly 73% of all study participants were found to have cataracts, but the risk began to significantly fall as vitamin C blood levels and vitamin C intake rose. They also found that in the roughly one-quarter of older adults with the highest levels of vitamin C, the risk of cataracts was 39% lower than in people with the lowest levels of the nutrient.

Many scientists believe that the reason for this is because the eye’s lens contains more vitamin C than almost any other part of the body. This particular vitamin is a very powerful antioxidant that is essential for proper functioning of many different systems within the body, including the eyes.

The body cannot create its own vitamin C, and because the vitamin is very water-soluble, only a little bit can be stored within the body at the time. Therefore, it is essential that people get a proper amount of vitamin C from food sources (90 milligrams for men, 75 milligrams for women) each and every day so a deficiency is not formed. You can do this easily through eating foods that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, papayas, broccoli and more.

While maintaining healthy vision and proper dieting habits is just one of many ways in which you can protect your eyesight, it is also important to schedule annual eye exams after the age of 60. By maintaining a healthy diet rich in vitamin C along with visiting the eye doctor once ever year, you will help to decrease your chances of cataracts and will maintain great vision for many years to come.


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