Cataract is a common eye disease. A cataract refers to an area of the lens of a person's eye that has become whitish and opaque instead of remaining clear. The result is that the person cannot see clearly. The crystalline lens, through which light travels into the interior of the eye, is situated just behind the iris or coloured portion of the eye. In cataract, this lens becomes opaque, hence, seriously hampering the entrance of light into the eye. Blindness ensues when no light rays can permeate the opacity of the lens.
Blurred vision and thereafter double vision
The first sign of cataract is blurred vision. The patient finds it difficult to see things in focus. As the disease progresses, the patient may get double vision or spots, or both. At first, vision in twilight may be better than in full daylight since light is admitted round the more widely-dilated pupil in the dark. In the advanced stage, objects and persons may appear as mere blobs of light, and there is a greyish-white discoloration in the pupil.
Causes of Cataract
Deterioration in the nutrition of the lens
There are three factors which contribute to the loss of transparency of the lens. These are deterioration in the nutrition of the lens which diminishes the vitality and resistance of the delicate lens fibres; deposits of acids and salts between the lens fibres which have an irritating effect on the lens tissues and exert an increasing pressure on its delicate fibres, gradually destroying them; and disintegration of lens fibres which cloud the entire lens in the absence of appropriate measures.
Poisons in the blood stream, faulty style of living
As in the case of most diseases, poisons in the blood stream due to dietetic errors and a faulty style of living, are the real cause of cataract. The toxic matter in the blood stream spreads throughout the body to find shelter in any available weak spot. It strikes the lens if it has become weak through strain, excessive use of the eyes, and local irritation. The condition becomes worse with the passage of time and then a cataract starts developing.
Stress and strain, alcoholic drinks, certain physical ailments
Other causes of cataract are stress and strain; excessive intake of alcoholic drinks, sugar, and salt; smoking; certain physical ailments such as gastro-intestinal or gall-bladder disturbances; diabetes; vitamin deficiencies; fatty acid intolerance; ageing; radiation; side-effects of drugs that have been prescribed for other diseases.
Home Remedies for Cataract
Cataract treatment using Carrot
The use of carrots is considered beneficial in the treatment of cataract. The patient should take plenty of raw carrots daily. As an alternative, he may drink two glasses of fresh carrot juice, one each in the morning and evening.
Cataract treatment using Garlic
The use of garlic is another effective home remedy for cataract. Two or three cloves should be eaten raw daily. They should be chewed slowly. Garlic helps to clean the crystalline lens of the eye.
Cataract treatment using Pumpkin
The flowers of pumpkin are valuable in cataract. The juice of these flowers should be extracted and applied externally on the eyelids twice daily. It will stop further clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye.
Cataract treatment using Aniseed
Aniseed is considered a useful remedy for cataract. An equal quantity of aniseed and coriander powder should be mixed with one teaspoon of brown sugar, and the mixture should be taken in doses of 12 gm in the morning and evening.
Cataract treatment using Honey
The use of unprocessed pure honey is another effective remedy for cataract. A few drops of this honey should be put in the eyes. This is an ancient Egyptian remedy which has benefitted many patients.
Cataract treatment using Almonds
Almonds are valuable in cataract. Seven kernels should be ground finely with half a gram of pepper (kali mirch) in half a cup of water, and drunk after sweetening the mixture with a teaspoon of sugar candy. It helps the eyes to regain their vigour.
Cataract treatment using Nutrients
Certain nutrients have also been found useful in cataract. Experiments have shown that animals develop cataract if deprived of pantothenic acid and amino acids, and tryptophane and vitamin B6 needed for tryptophane assimilation. The diet of the cataract patient should, therefore, be high in vitamins B2 and B6, as well as the entire B complex group, pantothenic acid, vitamins C, D, E and other nutrients.
Orange juice and water, thereafter a restricted diet
A thorough cleansing of the body is essential. To start with, it will be advisable to undertake a fast of orange juice and water for three days. After this initial fast, a diet of a very restricted nature should be followed for two weeks. Breakfast may consist of seasonal juicy fruits. Raw vegetable salads with olive oil and lemon juice dressing, and soaked raisins, figs, or dates should be taken during lunch. Evening meals should consist of steamed vegetables and a few nuts. Potatoes should be avoided.
Well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts etc
After two weeks of this diet, the cataract patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits. The emphasis should be on fresh juicy fruits and raw vegetables. The juice fast followed by the restricted diet should be repeated at an interval of three months.
Avoid white bread, alcoholic beverages etc
The patient should avoid white bread, sugar, cream, refined cereals, rice, boiled potatoes, puddings and pies, strong tea or coffee, alcoholic beverages, condiments, pickles, and sauces.
Other Cataract treatments
A warm-water enema should be given daily during the juice fast.
Epsom salts bath
An Epsom salts bath is beneficial and should be taken twice a week. The patient should remain in the bath from twenty-five to thirty-five minutes till he perspires freely. After the bath, he should cool off gradually. Eyes should he closed and bathed externally, at least, twice daily with hot water containing Epsom salts.
Do eye exercises
Eye exercises aimed at relaxing and strengthening of the eyes are also valuable in cataract.