Age-Related Eye Disorders. Part 1

Age-Related Eye Disorders. Part 1

There are four seasons in a year, and the same way there are four seasons in our lives.

Unlike the calendar autumn, the autumn of life comes once and for ever. Autumn always brings us a lot of joy showing its beauty through the multiple vivid colors of the parks and gardens, carpets of leaves under our feet, the last warm and splendid days of Indian summer… Autumn of life also brings a lot of bright feelings and impressions – a rest that was well deserved throughout your life, the long-awaited birth of grandchildren, the opportunity to acquire interesting hobbies, for which we didn’t have enough time before, etc. And we would like to have as many marvelous and bright days in old age as possible. But as always, any warm autumn sooner or later gets replaced by nasty weather, cold rains and icy wind, we rarely, after reaching an old age, are not facing health problems.

Of course, it is extremely unpleasant to suffer from arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other ailments, but when the vision deteriorates, the fear appears of blindness and loss of own independence.
After reaching the age of 65, the vision of every third elderly person is getting worse due to the development of some eye disease. There are 4 main diseases, the presence of which is very often directly connected with the age-related changes of the body – cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Cataract occurs when the lens and its capsule become clouded. The lens consists mainly of water and proteins. If the proteins clumped together, it manifests itself in clouding of a small part of the lens. This dense mass of proteins is a cataract. It may increase in size, gradually impairing vision. At full lens opacity the central vision is completely lost; the only thing which people may only distinguish is the presence of light, its absence, and its brightness.

The cataract may be defined by some symptoms, the presence of which should alert you and make you to refer to the eye care professional. Among them are the following: a photophobia, when people may complain that the light from a lamp or the sun rays hurts their eyes constantly. In addition, a sense of mist may appear, which prevents to see clearly.

Factors affecting the lens opacification, are extremely diverse. There are cases of the lens opacity as a result of physical influences (thermal heat causes cataracts, ionizing radiation originates radiation cataract). The cause of cataract development, as known, may also be the effects on the eyes of ultraviolet sun rays, so it is necessary to protect the eyes. In most cases lens opacification results from aging. It was called “Cataracta senilis”, or “age-related cataract”.

Eat more beta-carotene.
According to Allen Taylor, director of the Laboratory of Nutrition and Visual Research, located in Boston, and supported by the United States at Boston University, beta-carotene – vitamin A, contained in vegetables – can prevent the incipiency of cataract or delay its development. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and it effectively neutralizes the harmful free oxygen molecules that, traveling throughout the body, are involved in many degenerative changes. Studies have shown that people with a high content of beta-carotene in blood are much less likely to get cataract, while those who avoid foods rich in this substance, get sick more often. Beta-carotene may be found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, cantaloupe and apricots, as well as in dark green leafy vegetables – cabbage and broccoli.

Vitamin C – is also a wonderful doctor. Studies conducted by scientists have shown that a healthy eye contains enough vitamin C, while in people suffering from cataract, its concentration is much lower.
In laboratory experimentation it has been found that vitamin C protects the lens from formation of free radicals, particularly those whose appearance is caused by the effects of ultraviolet rays. It has been found that between vitamin C and a frequency of cataract there is a direct bond. A daily dose of 500 milligrams of vitamin C will create a reliable protection from the disease. This amount is equal, for example, three glasses of orange juice.
But if the cataract is in severe state, in this case only surgery can help.

Glaucoma is a disease that can be described as an increase of intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve of the eye. This disease often proceeds for a long time without any apparent symptoms. About one million people live around the world with this disease, completely unaware of its presence. But unfortunately, glaucoma may become extremely dangerous, without timely detecting and then the proper treatment it can lead to total blindness! In the United States it is one of the main reasons of people becoming blind. Factors that may provoke the occurrence of glaucoma are natural aging, receiving of steroids, as well as myopia.

Glaucoma treatment is normalization and monitoring of ophthalmic fundus pressure. There are both medicamental treatment (eye drops, etc.), and the surgical intervention – trabeculectomy. There is also a more advanced method of laser treatment called trabeculoplasty.

Patients with glaucoma should observe the general regime: regular sleep (at least 7-8 hours a day), walks on fresh air, lacto-vegetarian diet; the use of coffee and alcohol is prohibited. Fluid intake is restricted to 4-5 glasses per day. Hard work and night shifts are counter-indicative for patients with glaucoma.

Remember, glaucoma, as well as cataract, may be a genetic condition. The risk group includes everyone, whose blood relatives have ever had this eye disease.

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