The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MAY  2006

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Look out for Cataracts

by B.J. Armstrong

The voice of one who goes to make
the paths of June more beautiful is thine,
Sweet May!
---- Helen Hunt Jackson

Summer has begun when May gets here. And we need to be careful of those hot sun rays. When you're out in the sun, vision experts recommend wearing a hat and sunglasses for eye protection. If you have not had cataracts, know someone that has, or ever heard of them, sooner or later, you probably will. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cataracts strike nearly everyone by age 75.

Cataracts cause clouding of the normally transparent eye lens and prevent light from reaching the retina. Cataracts cause blurring and double vision and is usually a result of aging. But, other causes are also possible. These causes might be from eye injuries, exposure to extreme heat or radiation, some medications and diabetes.

B J Armstrong

Treatments for cataracts include drops to open the pupils to let in more light around the cloudy lens. A surgical approach is the removal and replacement of the lenses. Experienced surgeons achieve good to excellent results in over 90% of cases.

By eating the right things, you can help to protect yourself from cataracts and other vision problems. High doses of vitamin A guards against free radical

damage that lead to night blindness and cataracts. Choose yellow, orange, and green fruits and vegetables such as: carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, spinach, squash, oranges, bananas, turnip greens, lemons, tangerines, cantaloupe, broccoli, brussel sprouts and sweet peppers.
Eating vitamin E-rich foods every day can cut your risk of getting cataracts in half. Just like vitamins A and C, Vitamin E counteracts the harmful free radicals produced by exposure to light and oxygen.

Chances are, you get enough protein from the meat, fish, and dairy products in your diet. To maximize your protection, eat beans with rice and peanut butter with whole-grain bread.

A high salt diet could mean high risk for your eyes. Try using herbs instead of salt to flavor your food. Garlic and onions improve almost any meal and might even improve your eyesight.

Protecting your vision doesn't have to be

complicated. As you plan your meals from day to day, just remember, how you eat affects how you see.

There are ways to protect yourself against cataracts. Although age is the number one cause of them, you can make lifestyle choices to decrease your risk.

1. Protect your eyes from the sun. Wear sunglasses at all times when you are outside in the summer. Experts agree.. if you spend too much time in the sun without protecting your eyes, you're at higher risk for eye diseases, such as cataracts.

2. Stop smoking. Cigarette smoke can dim your eyesight. While experts cannot explain how it happens, they do know smokers are 2 to 3 more likely to get cataracts than nonsmokers.

3. Stop drinking. Scientists have found that with regular alcohol use there is a slightly higher rate of cataracts. While researchers continue to study this connection, you might want to just stop drinking altogether.

4. Be aware of the aspirin controversy. Aspirin therapy for cataracts is still a controversial subject. A word of caution ... ask your doctor about taking or not taking aspirin. Also, ask your doctor about estrogen. Post-menopausal women are at high risk of developing cataracts.

Do what you can to prevent cataracts. For more information contact the National Society to Prevent Blindness and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. And keep appointments with your eye doctor!

"Keep your eyes toward the sunlight,
And the shadows will fall behind you.