I’d like to talk about the two most common age-related eye disorders: macular degeneration and cataracts. But first, I’ll point out that there are myriad eye problems, and some of them are medical emergencies. For instance: detached retina and acute closed-angle glaucoma. You need to see a good ophthalmologist right away in those cases. But, there’s a good chance you’ll go your whole life without either one of those things happening to you.

However, cataracts are universal. If you live long enough, you are going to get them. Ultraviolet light damages the proteins in the lens. It denatures them such that they lose their translucence and become opaque. But, people vary a lot in how rapidly they develop cataracts.

I am 70, and I have been told that I have some mild opacity in my lens. I’m not aware of any visual deficit. And the eye doctor wasn’t concerned.  He said it’s a long way from having to consider surgery. In fact, he said I’m doing better than most 70 year olds he’s seen. I expect it to get worse, but I hope very slowly, so that it’s many years before it becomes a problem.

Now, I don’t want to get cataract surgery. I am not going to do it unless I absolutely have to. For instance, if my cataracts were bad enough to make me feel unsafe to drive at night, but I had no problem driving during the day, I would just not drive at night. I don’t like driving at night anyway. So, if that was the only interference, I just wouldn’t drive at night at all. And if I had to get somewhere at night, I would just Uber there. I could live like that forever. I could do it right now. Of course, if it got to the point that I couldn’t even drive during the day, then I’d have to have surgery. But, I’m no pessimist. I won’t assume the worst. I think it would be cool to get to my 90s with my original lenses, and if not driving at night was the only inconvenience, hallelujah.  But, here is what am I doing to try to prevent or forestall cataracts. First, I eat a high produce diet with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables to get those protective antioxidants. And second, I take 500 mg  Carnosine twice a day. There is good, solid research showing that Carnosine helps prevent cataracts. There are also Carnosine eye-drops sold under the name Can-C.  We don’t sell Can-C drops, but we do offer Carnosine capsules  But, the drops are widely available online. I haven’t felt motivated to start using the drops yet because I’m not having any problem. But, if my cataracts worsened, and the eye doctor told me that I was getting close to needing surgery, I would use them. And I assume that eventually it is going to come to that. So, I figure it’s in my future. But, I am going to put off cataract surgery as long as I can. I know that it oftren goes without a hitch, but I’ve heard horror stories about cataract surgery.  I have a good friend, a retired professor, about my age, and he underwent cataract surgery that went horribly bad. It had to be repeated. And even now, years later, he sends me email in super-large font, and I write back to him the same way since he can't see very well.  I know it's the exception, but still: we're talking about cutting into your eyes.  So, I am only going to do it as a last resort, and I hope I never have to do it at all.

I should point out that I do wear protective eyewear, either sunglasses or regular eyeglasses that become sunglasses outdoors.

Now, macular degeneration is an entirely different story. Unlike cataracts, it is NOT inevitable. My maculas are in excellent shape. My eye doctor, who is a good friend of mine, Dr. David Peters, of Lockhart, Texas, tells me I don’t have the slightest hint of macular degeneration. He says my maculas are so yellow, I’ll probably never get it. And I do consume a lot of lutein. Today, for instance, I hate mango, papaya, kale, swiss chard, and romaine lettuce. And I ate other foods that probably have a little bit of lutein too, such as grapefruit. Macula degeneration is said to be due to a deficiency of lutein, but there is probably more to it than that. There is probably a circulatory component as well. But naturally, I’m doing all I can to protect my arteries as well.

But, I want to make it clear that if a person does have macular degeneration, I think they should have the laser treatment for it because it does help, and it may even keep you from going blind. There are a lot of bad things they do in Medicine, but that is one of the good things. 

 

So, the score for me, so far, is: no sign of macular degeneration, while mild cataracts are forming, but it’s far from being problematic. I have no sign of glaucoma. My intraocular pressure is low. And I don’t have any floaters.

So, I am satisfied with how it’s going for me visually. And again, my hope and my goal is to go my whole life without needing any drastic interventions for my eyes. But, if I wound up having to get cataract surgery but not until my 90s, I’ll consider that a success too.