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Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August shows smokers have a much greater risk of cataract formation.The good news is that the risk can be cut by 25 per cent after stopping smoking in the long term.This study, dating from 1997 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that taking vitamin C supplements for ten years or more reduced the risk of cataracts developing by a massive 70 per cent.While nutrient supplementation is of proven benefit in reducing cataract risk, making informed dietary choices also has a part to play.Free radicals are quenched in the body by anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E.Theoretically, increasing our intake of anti-oxidants should help to protect our eyes from developing cataracts.It is well established that their development is related to damage caused by destructive mole-cules called free radicals.The cloudiness induced in the lens by free radicals is similar to the change evident when an egg white is cooked.
And most people over the age of 75 will experience some visual deterioration as a result of this condition.
Over time, protein in the lens may become damaged, resulting in cloudiness in the lens known as cataract.
Some cataracts are congenital (present at birth), or are related to specific trigger factors, such as steroid drug use, injury, eye surgery, or diabetes.
Most cataracts, however, develop as part of the ageing process.
Until quite recently, the cause of age-related cataracts remained a mystery.