Cataract is a common eye disease. A Cataract refers to an area of the lens of a persons eye that has become whitish and opaque instead of remaining clear. The result is that the person cannot see clearly. The crystalline lens, trough which light travels into the interior of the eye is situated just behind the iris or coloured portion of 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.
Causes and Symptoms
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.
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.
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. Other causes of cataract are stress and strain; excessive intake of alcoholic drinks, sugar, and salt; smoking; certain physical ailments such as gastrointestinal or gall-bladder disturbances; diabetes; vitamin deficiencies, fatty acid intolerance; ageing; radiation; side-effects of drugs that have been prescribed for other diseases.
Carrot: The use of carrots is considered beneficial in tn treatment of cataract. The patient should take plenty of raw carrot daily. As an alternative, he may drink two glasses of fresh carot juice, one each in the morning and evening.
Garlic: The use of garlic is another effective home rein for cataract. Two or three cloves should be eaten raw daily. They should be chewed slowly. Garlic helps to clean the crystalline of the eye.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Br) 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.
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.
A warm-water enema should be given daily during the juice fast 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 be closed and bathed externally, at least, twice daily with hot water containing Epsom salts.
Eye exercises aimed at relaxing and strengthening of the eyes are also valuable in cataract. The details about these exercises as well as the procedure for palming have been explained in the chapter on Conjunctivitis. Fresh air and gentle outdoor exercise, such as walking, are other essentials. Exposure to heat and bright light should be avoided.