A reader from my neck of the woods wrote in recently to say that he was developing a cataract on his left eye, and wondered what I would recommend he do. Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness, and can be the result of anything from diabetes to steroid use.
You'd certainly rather prevent cataracts than treat them after the fact. I've written about cataracts numerous times in the past, and how bioflavonoids and antioxidants can help help you avoid the problem in the first place. If you already have cataract, like the reader, there is still hope.
There has been some very promising research out of Russia that I have been following for the last few years in relation to cataract treatment. Dr. Mark Babizhayev and his colleagues at the Helmholtz Eye Institute in Moscow have been studying the effects of the natural compound N-Acetyl-Carnosine (NAC - not to be confused with N-Acetyl-Cysteine, which I have written about often and is used to boost glutathione levels) since about 1991.
During this time, Dr Babizhayev's work has progressed from extensive laboratory testing in animal models to human studies. (Life Sci 05, Dec.29) (Drugs RD 05;6(6):345-369) (Rejuvenation Res 04;7(3):186-198) (Drugs RD 04;5(3):125-136) (Drugs RD 02;3(2):87-103)
Dr Babizhayev has discovered that he has been able to prevent cataract formation by applying a 1-percent liquid solution of NAC directly to the eye. Even better news is that his eye drops have actually reduced and eliminated age-related cataracts. These results have all been accomplished without surgery or drugs.
Cataracts result from a clouding of the eye's lens, which never stops growing - much like your hair and nails. Lenses grow from the outside in, though, meaning that the cells at the centre are the oldest. As the cells age they are subjected to oxidation and a process called glycation, in which sugars combine with proteins. NAC eye drops have been shown to prevent and reverse the cross-linking of the lens proteins that leads to opacification and impairs vision.