Cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment among aging Americans and a key quality of life issue. Cataract procedures are the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S., accounting for more than two million each year. According to the American Optometric Association, nutrition is one promising means of preventing or delaying the progression of cataracts and it is never too early to start. We all think about nutrition for our bones, but do we ever think about nutrition for our eyes? Cataracts, the most common type of opacity affecting the lens of the eye, tend to occur in a higher prevalence in women who have hypertension, smoke, and/or are overweight/obese. A study done at the University of Wisconsin/Madison assessed the dietary intake of 1,808 women, ages 50 to 79 years and tracked the subjects for the development of cataracts.  The team found that women who consumed foods rich in vitamins and minerals and were at a healthy weight were at a 37% reduced risk of developing cataracts. It is suggested that a healthy diet lowers oxidative stress and systemic inflammation, both of which may reduce the development of cataract. The researchers assume a diet rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals may reduce the risk of cataract formation. The Nutrition and Vision Project found that higher intakes of vitamin C led to a reduced risk for cataracts. Results also showed that people who used vitamin C and E supplements for more than ten years had decreased progression of cataracts. The Nurses' Health Study found that high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a reduced need for cataract surgery. On average, people had intakes around 6 milligrams (mg) of lutein and zeaxanthin each day. Newes results are showing that asaxanthin is becoming a great supplement for eyes. Research has shown that nutrition can impact the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD, the two leading causes of blindness and visual impairment among millions of aging Americans. Think about your nutrition for your eyes no matter what age you are, protect your vision. You will thank yourself later. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist