Cataracts are opaque areas which occur in the normally clear lens of the eye. This condition is frequently diagnosed in person over 70 years of age. As the cataract worsens over time, vision is reduced, distorted, or blocked. Both eyes are affected, usually one more than the other.
Treatment involves surgical removal of the lens so that glasses, contact lenses, or artificially implanted lenses must be used. Vision improves in approximately 95% of all cases.
There seems to be an increasing incidence, which cannot simply be explained away by an aging population, or better diagnosis:
1980 1991 cataract surgeries 250,000 1.5 million
Aging, causing senile cataracts
X-rays Heat from infrared rays
Systemic medications such as corticosteroids
Congenital predisposition (e.g., maternal rubella or galactosemia, especially if early in pregnancy)
Cataracts can result as a complication of other eye disorders, such as:
Signs & Symptoms
General deterioration of vision
Gradual and painless blurred vision
Halos around lights
Blinding glare from headlights
Poor reading vision
Unpleasant glare and poor vision in bright sunlight
In advanced cases, the following symptoms can occur:
Lens is white, opaque, and readily visible
Pressure in the eye
Structure & Function: Antioxidants
Adult Beta carotene* Bioflavonoids 500 - 1000 mg Chromium 200 - 600 mcg DHEA* Lutein Rutin 200 - 500 mg Vitamin A* Vitamin B complex* Vitamin C 1,000 - 3,000 mg Vitamin E 200 - 400 IU
* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.
Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.
In most cases, cataracts can neither be prevented nor treated by nutritional management. The exception is cataracts which are due to the consumption of galactose or lactose by galactosemic individuals. These cataracts can be prevented and even reversed by adherence to a Lactose Restricted Diet. Pregnant women who are galactosemic or asymptomatic carriers of the trait can prevent congenital cataracts in their children by strictly following a Lactose Restricted Diet.
Quality drinking water is a high priority.
Spinach may have a protective effect.
Treatment of choice - Silicea use 15C for months
1.* Cineraria maritima 30C use per as and as eyedrops (homeopathic or tincture). Must use for several months
2.* Naphthalinum 3X to 30C - use 3X long term (many months) or 30C for 6 weeks
3. Quassia amara (Picraena excelsa) 3C to 30C long term
Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.
X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.
Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.
Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.
Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.
Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.
Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
Cineraria maritima (Dusty Miller)
Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
Bilberry may be protective against cataracts due to the antioxidant effects of its anthocyanosides. In one study (Bravetti, 1989) a combination of bilberry and vitamin E stopped progression of cataracts in 97% of cases.
Cineraria maritima is a time honored treatment for cataract, with both homeopaths and naturopaths. Eyedrops may be painful. They may be diluted with saline to improve compliance.
Curcumin also has antioxidant properties. It seems to increase the levels of glutathione S-transferase. (Awasthi, 1996)
Eyebright is used in the form of an eyewash.
Awasthi,S et al., Curcumin protects against 4-hydroxy-2-transneonatal-induced cataract formation in rat lens. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1996, 64(5):761-766.
Barrett, R: Naturopathic specific condition review: cataracts. The Protocol J. of Botanical Med. Vol 2 (2).
Bravetti, GO et al., Preventive medical treatment of senile cataract with vitamin E and Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides. Clin. Eval. Ann. Ottalmol. Clin. Ocul. 1989, 115:109-116.
Aromatherapy - Essential Oils
Related Health ConditionsAbstracts
Ahlrot-Westerlund, B.& Norrby, A. : Cataracts, Vitamin E and Selenomethionine. ACTA Ophthalm., April, 1988;237-238.
Berkow, R. 1977. The Merck Manual. Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories Pub., Rahway, New Jersey. 2165 pp.
Bland, Jeffrey. Nutraerobics. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983.
Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.
Cheraskin E: Antioxidants in health and disease. J Am Optom Assoc, 67(1):50-7 1996 Jan.
Ederer, F. & H.R. Taylor. Senile Lens Changes and Diabetes in Two Population Studies. American Journal Of Opthalmology, 91 (1981).
Gaby, AR & Wright, JV: Nutritional Factors in Degenerative Eye Disorders: Cataract and Macular Degeneration. J of The Adv. of Medicine, Spring, 1993;6(1):27- 40.
Hamilton, H. K. ed. 1982. Professional Guide To Diseases Intermed Communications Inc. Pub, Springfield, Massachusetts. 1323 pp.
Haung W et al., Extracellular glutathione peroxidase and ascorbic acid in aqueous humor and serum of patients operated on for cataract. Clin Chim Acta, 1997 May 28, 261:2, 117-30.
Heinerman, John, Ph.D. 1982. Herbal Dynamics. Root of Life, Inc.: Publ.
Hiller, R. & F. Ederer. Epidemiologic Associations with Cataract in the 1970-1972 National Hanes. Am J Epidemiology, 118 1983.
Hodge-WG et al: Risk factors for age-related cataracts. Epidemiol-Rev. 1995; 17(2): 336-46.
Jacques, P.: Antioxidants and Cataracts. Epidemiology, May 1993;4(3):191-193.
Keller, G. Aidose Reductase Inhibitors and Cataract Formation. Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd, 176 (1980).
Khachik F et al., Identification of lutein and zeaxanthin oxidation products in human and monkey retinas. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 1997 Aug, 38:9, 1802-11.
Kirschmann, J.D. 1990. Nutrition Almanac: Nutrition Search. McGrew-Hill: New York.
Knekt, P. et al: Serum Antioxidant Vitamins and Risk of Cataract. British Medical Journal, December 5, 1992;305:1392-1394.
Kunz, J.R.M. 1982. The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. Random House Pub, New York. 832 pp.
Murray, M.T., & J.E. Pizzorno. 1991. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, Ca; Prima Publishing.
Nutrition and Cataracts. Nutrition Reviews, 32 (1984).
Shindo, K. & Tanaka, M.: Leukotriene B4 Levels in the Aqueous Humor of Patients With Senile Cataract. Current Therapeutic Research, September 1993;54(3):325-327.
Taylor, A.: Cataract: Relationships Between Nutrition and Oxidation. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1993;12(2):138-146.
Vitale, Susan, et al: Plasma Antioxidants and Risk of Cortical and Nuclear Cataract. Epidemiology, May 1993;4(3):195-203.
Wyngaarden, J.B. & L.H. Smith. 1985. Cecil's Textbook of Medicine. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 2341 pp.
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