The Aging Eye
Growing old with Cataracts

As our bodies age, change inevitably occurs. Stiff limbs, grey hair and wrinkles probably spring immediately to mind. Certainly we become stiffer and less agile and our bodies shrink and sag as they lose their youthful shapeliness as the years pass by. Unfortunately the changes that age brings have a tendency to make our bodies much more vulnerable and prone to dysfunction. And our eyes are by no means the exception to prove the rule.

For a start everybody's vision deteriorates with age independent of any aging eye diseases. One of the main reasons for this is that it is the pupil that determines how much light actually reaches the retina (the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye upon which images are focused on - it's the retina's job to then convert these images in to electric signals and to send them to the brain via the optic nerve). Unfortunately, the extent to which the pupil is able to dilate decreases with age and the inevitable consequence of this is that older eyes receive much less light at the retina. The statistics are pretty stark. The light adapted eye of a 20 year old receives six times more light than that of an 80 year old. In dark adapted conditions, the 20 year old eye receives about 16 times more light. In other words, for an older person, it's a like wearing medium-density sunglasses in bright light and extremely dark glasses in dim light.

For most of us, increasing age also brings with it the need to use reading glasses - even if you've never had to wear glasses before. This decline in vision is usually due to a condition known as presbyopia which refers to the eye's increasingly inability to focus on near objects. Although no-one really knows what the exact mechanisms at play are that result in presbyopia, research strongly points to it arising from a decline in the elasticity of lens. A loss of power in the muscles that bend and straighten the lens (the ciliary muscles) might also be responsible.

Aging also brings with it a dramatic slowing in dark adaptation. Color vision changes cause a reduction in the ability to discriminate blues and blue-greens. The aging lens and cornea also cause glare by light scattering and aberrations of the cornea increase with age. All of this leads to poor vision especially when the pupil dilates in the dark.

Perhaps the most irritating aspect of aging and the impact that it has on our vision as we grow older is the fact that our eyes just don't seem to work as well as they did when we were younger. It all becomes a bit more of an effort, requiring us to concentrate harder and the need for higher levels of illumination just to reach the same perceptual levels as we did when we were young.

And that's just the effect of the normal aging process quite apart from the age related diseases that can develop. We have, of course, already mentioned presbyopia but there are a number of other disease conditions that can affect the aging eye. And, although, here we are concentrating mainly on cataracts, it would be remiss to not at least mention these other conditions namely glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and dry eye syndrome.

Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve - the large nerve that carries electrical signals from the retina to the brain. The optic nerve is therefore crucial for vision - without it we could not see. If someone is suffering from glaucoma, their optic nerve is damaged and their ability to see becomes increasingly affected. At first peripheral vision is gradually destroyed, then central vision. If nothing is done total blindness will eventually result. The optic nerve damage that happens when someone is suffering from glaucoma usually results from higher than normal intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye itself). Although incurable, it can be well managed by the use of eyedrops that effectively lower intraocular pressure.

In fact there is evidence that Can-C eye-drops can help alleviate the intra ocular pressure associated with glaucoma. Inside the eye is the Schlemm canal which acts as a valve passing waste products out into the blood and also acting in its own right as a pressure valve too. Over time the canal gets somewhat blocked with cross-linked proteins, otherwise known as glycated end products, impaired materials that need to be disposed of.

It is know that Can-C eye-drops help to prevent the formation of cross linked proteins and to aid their disposal. Thus from the anecdotal evidence of users who have seen reductions in their intra ocular eye-pressure, thus alleviating their glaucoma, it is assumed that Can-C is helping to literally unclog the Schell canal.

Age -related macular degeneration is a condition that affects the central part of the retina known as the macula. Blood vessels under the retina leak blood and fluid, damaging retinal cells and causing blind spots in central vision. Age related macular degeneration affects vision in the opposite way to glaucoma in that it is central vision that is affected first with peripheral vision being left intact. There are two types of age related macular degeneration known as wet and dry forms. The dry form is the early stage of the disease and will lead to the wet form in about 10% of cases which results in more severe vision loss. Age related macular degeneration is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in the developed world. It is a very common condition. For example in the US approximately 11% of the US population aged 65 to 74 are affected by the condition.

There has been a remarkable development and clinical evidence that a products known as MZS can help significantly reverse age-related macular degeneration. For more information about this please click here.

Dry Eye Syndrome is an uncomfortable chronic condition that affects more women than men usually beginning in mid life. It is caused by a problem with tear production. We deal with this in more detail at (put in link here ...)

But perhaps one of the most well known age related eye conditions is senile cataract. A cataract is defined as a cloudiness or opacity within the lens of the eye. The lens itself is a transparent, biconvex structure that, along with the cornea, helps to refract light so that it focuses on the retina and provides us with a clear, sharp image. By changing shape, the lens is able to change the focal distance of the eye so that we are able to focus on objects at various distances. This process is known as accommodation.

In a healthy eye the lens is transparent which allows light to pass easily through it. It is crucial for good vision and any loss of this transparency will produce less optimal vision. If the lens starts to become cloudy (in other word a cataract begins to develop) light does not pass easily through it and the result is that the image that reaches the retina becomes fuzzy and dull. The effect is a bit like looking through frosted glass or looking from behind a 'waterfall'. In fact, the literal meaning of the word 'cataract' is waterfall. It should be stressed that a cataract is not a 'new' growth in the lens. Cataracts are defined as any cloudiness or opacity in the lens of the eye and the term 'cataract' simply means that the lens is not completely transparent any more.

There are several different types of cataracts and they are generally classified by two different criteria - location in the lens and origin. When classified by location types of cataract include:

  • Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract - This is the most common type of cataract that develops as a result of the aging process. A nuclear sclerotic cataract produces a gradual yellow cloudiness and hardening of the nucleus, or central portion, of the lens. The result is a gradual deterioration in vision
  • Cortical Cataract - Whereas a nuclear sclerotic cataract is located in the central part of the lens, a cortical cataract clouds the periphery of the lens, called the cortex. Cortical cataracts generally look like wheel spokes which point inward towards the nucleus of the lens. The effect of a cortical cataract is that light scatters when it hits the spokes
  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataract - This type of cataract occurs on the back of the lens, below the capsular bag which encases the lens, typically starting near the center of the back part of the capsular bag. If you suffer from this type of cataract you are most likely to experience light sensitivity, blurry near vision, and glare and halos. Posterior subcapsular cataracts most commonly develop in people who suffer from diabetes or who have taken steroids for a prolonged time period

Cataracts are also classified depending upon their origin i.e. the manner in which they develop. Classifications include:

  • Age-Related Cataract - This is the most common type of cataract. Although senile cataracts can develop in your 40s and 50s they are far more likely to become an issue when you reach your 60s and 70s. They are very common indeed and it is estimated that they affect around 60% of people over the age of 60
  • Secondary Cataract - This type of cataract develops secondary to some other problem - such as a result of undergoing eye surgery. Diabetics and steroid users are also prone to developing secondary cataracts Traumatic Cataract - A traumatic injury to the eye can result in cataracts developing. Such a cataract may not form immediately after the injury, but may develop years later
  • Congenital Cataract - Although rare, some children are born with cataracts. This type of cataract is referred to as a congenital cataract
  • Radiation Cataract - This type of cataract develops as a result of exposure to certain types of radiation, particularly ultraviolet light. Radiation cataracts are very rare

It's clear then from looking at the above list that there are a number of risk factors that significantly increase your chances of developing cataracts. For example, being diabetic, using steroids, and having received an eye injury all increase your risk of suffering from cataracts. Some risks are, of course, totally unavoidable - for example more women than men develop cataracts, as do people who suffer from myopia (short sightedness) and people with brown irises. Other risk factors such as smoking and sunlight exposure are within your control.

But by far and above the greatest risk for developing cataracts is aging. Cataracts appear to develop as a result of changes in the arrangement of the proteins in the lens. Normally these are laid out in such a way that the lens is kept transparent but as we age, the protein structures can alter and opacities form as proteins start to clump together. The result is, of course, that some of the light entering the eye is no longer able to pass through the lens and reach the retina which leads to the distortion in vision. Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes these changes happen. However, it does appear to be part and parcel of the normal process of aging which is why cataracts are so common among the older population.

At first the changes in the eye that lead to opacities developing may not be discernable. Early cataracts are so microscopically small that although they do block a tiny amount of light it simply doesn't affect what you are seeing. And as cataracts do not cause pain or redness you may not realize that you have a problem. In fact cataracts can begin many years before they actually affect your vision although for some people they develop more quickly. Cataracts also usually form in both eyes but may develop more quickly in one eye than the other.

Gradually though your vision will be affected as it becomes increasingly blurry. Glare in low-light conditions can also be problematic which can particularly affect your ability to drive at night. You may also experience other problems such as reduced color vision. Remarkably some people actually experience an initial improvement in their vision (a phenomena known as second sight) although this is only temporary and gradually vision will deteriorate.

Once your cataracts have been diagnosed and the issues with your vision are becoming problematic, your ophthalmologist will probably advise you that you require surgery as the only way to treat your condition.

But surgery is now no longer the only option available to you. Thanks to remarkable developments in the treatment of cataracts, Can-C Eye drops now offer a ground breaking alternative to surgery. For the first time cataracts can be treated simply by the daily use of eye drops. Specifically designed of the treatment of senile cataracts and using a unique, patented formula containing the active ingredient N-acetylcarnosine, Can-C Eye drops gently but effectively halt and can even reverse the progress of cataracts.

And the results are evident incredibly quickly. Even after just 1 month of treatment, the effects of Can-C carnosine eye drops are clearly visible - breaking down the damaged proteins that cause the cataracts.

What's more, by combining the use of Can-C Eyedrops with Can-C Plus capsules you can make your treatment regime even more effective. Can-C Plus is a nutritional supplement that actively improves the environment in the eye, making it even more receptive to Can-C Eyedrops.

So even though growing old is unavoidable and brings with it increased risks of developing cataracts, Can-C Eyedrops at last mean that surgery is no longer the inevitable conclusion you must reach. By allowing you to take control of your condition, you can now turn back the hands of time and what was once thought of as just being part and parcel of growing old, can now be treated gently and effectively, without the need for any invasive procedures at all.