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Looking At The Effects Of Oxidative Stress On Your Eyes

No one is sure what the exact cause of cataracts is, although many factors have been thought to contribute to this condition. Research has found that cataracts could be directly linked to aging in addition to other factors like disease. Some researchers are looking at the effects of oxidative stress on the eyes and how nutrition can help to slow down its damaging effects. Find out how your diet can reduce the formation of cataracts in your eyes.

Oxidation: A Natural Process In Your Body

Every cell in your body is impacted by oxidation, every day. In your eyes, some proteins and important enzymes in the lenses are particularly vulnerable to oxidation. Oxidation is natural and is caused by free radicals, oxygen atoms that are missing an electron in their outer shells. As they group together, they become oxygen starved-molecules.  Free radicals go about the body stealing electrons from healthy cells to make up for the ones they are missing and it goes on like a chain reaction. Oxidation is the primary cause of aging and decomposition in nature. In your eyes, the proteins and enzymes affected by damaging free radicals will cause cloudiness in the eye's natural lenses, thus creating cataracts. While oxidation is a completely natural process, you can slow it down and help to protect your eyes from the formation of cataracts.

Antioxidants Have Been A Hot Topic In Cataract Research

Researchers and medical professionals around the globe have been looking closely at the protective properties of antioxidants against free radicals. Vitamins C and E have been found to have a greater effect at reducing the formation of cataracts. Eating a diet high in these nutrients can help to protect your eyes, but taking supplements every day may have a greater impact. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are high in Vitamins C while nuts and fatty fish are great sources for Vitamin E.  In addition to vitamins C and E, researchers have studied the nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein and how they can give the eyes what they need to fight free radical damage. Zeaxanthin and lutein can be found in foods like collard greens, broccoli and spinach.

Engaging In Free Radical Warfare To Win

While eating a diet rich in antioxidant nutrients is your first step to combating free radical damage in your eyes, you should know there are other tactics to consider as well. Avoiding external sources that directly introduce high levels of free radicals to your body is extremely important to remember. Habits like smoking can increase the free radicals in your system, as can over-exposure to sunlight. Avoiding processed foods can also help you to lower the levels of free radicals in your body.

Eating a well-balanced diet has been recommended for many years, and by doing so, you give your body, including your eyes, what it needs to fight free radicals and the damages of oxidative stress they cause. Protecting your vision is important because once it is gone, getting it back can be a huge challenge and will usually involve surgical intervention.