How to help stave off those cataracts

The You Docs Tip of the Day:

May 7, 2013 

Niagara Falls is a 167-foot cataract (yep, that's the word for it), pumping 600,000 gallons per second into the Niagara River. We think it's fair to say that the adventurous and foolhardy folks who've ridden over it in barrels, metal bins or even a Jet Ski were blinded by its beauty. But more than 20 million people in North America have their vision impaired by cataracts of a very different kind.

Luckily, current technology easily can extract a cloudy or opaque lens from an affected eye (that's what a cataract is) and insert a new lens that provides clearer sight. (About 20 percent of the time, what's mistakenly called a secondary cataract makes things seem cloudy again. But that's from changes in the tissue that holds the lens, not the new lens itself. Clear vision can be restored with a quick trip back to the doc's office.)

By age 80, 50 percent of folks have cataracts. Age-related reduction in water and nutrients supplied to the lens may trigger the condition, and so can diabetes, smoking and overexposure to the sun's UV rays. But smart food choices will reduce your risk.

We recommend: three 4-ounce servings a week of eye-loving omega-3 DHA from salmon and ocean trout, or 900 mg a day of DHA algal oil supplements. Also lookin' good: lutein/zeaxanthin in tomatoes, kale, spinach, collard greens, romaine, broccoli, zucchini and peas; vitamin C in fruits; vitamin E in almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter; and zinc in poultry, seafood, beans and nuts.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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