The Roundup -

Keep An Eye Out For Cataract Awareness


June is Cataract Awareness Month and the time to protect your vision. A cataract develops when the eye’s lenses are damaged and proteins begin to cluster. This cluster of proteins cloud the lens and progresses overtime, thus, affecting vision. Among America’s aging population, cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment. As shown by the National Eye Institute, by age 80, well above half of Americans either have a cataract or have undergone cataract related surgery.

Are cataracts age-specific? Of course not, they may occur at any age. Cataracts may establish from previous eye injuries, radiation exposure, or even through abnormal lens development during pregnancy. During your “middle ages”, cataracts can be so small that your vision is not noticeably altered. Cataracts may develop in different locations in the lens which varies the location of opaqueness. In an advanced progression of cataracts, tinting of the eye’s lens may occur slowly and add brown shades over your vision. As time goes on, this brownish tint gradually increases and advanced discoloration may lead you to not being able to distinguish between black and blue colors.

Many factors contribute to eye health and the potential to develop cataracts which range from sun exposure, diabetes, smoking, and nutrition. Cataract removal is an effective surgery, but preventative measures through the diet may reduce cataract development. Incorporating a well-balanced diet with vitamin C and vitamin E is a practical way to reduce vision loss. According to the American Optometric Association, the majority of Americans are not consuming the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E each day.

Vitamin C and E are vital micronutrients that contain antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damaging free radicals and are able to prevent the development of cataracts. There are many types of foods with high sources of vitamin C beyond citrus fruits such as bell peppers, red cabbage, parsley, guava, strawberries, and kiwi. Vitamin E is fat-soluble and can be effectively absorbed with food, if using supplementation. Foods that naturally contain vitamin E include spinach, avocados, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds make the perfect snack for those summer time baseball games!

See your way to better eye health with vitamin and antioxidant packed meals! A spinach salad with fruit, almonds, and feta cheese provides a simple nutritious summer time staple. Spice up your fiesta routine with sweet potato nachos topped with avocado. On the go? Drink a fruit smoothie packed with strawberries, oranges, bananas, spinach, coconut milk, and a dash of cinnamon. Fresh fruit salads are an easy way to zest up your snacks and enjoy your summer.

For more information, check out the Richland County Nutrition Coalition Facebook page at, and the Pinterest page at


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