The Lens Of The Eye:
Cataracts create a tremendous financial burden on our society. Among U.S. Medicare recipients, cataract surgery is the most common major surgical procedure, costing $600,000 each year. Cataracts can be classified by location and appearance of the lens opacities, by cause or significant contributing factor, and by age of onset. Many factors may cause or contribute to the progression of lens opacity, including; ocular disease, injury, or surgery; systemic disease (e.g., diabetes mellitus, galactosemia); exposure to toxins, radiation, or ultraviolet and near-ultraviolet light; and hereditary disease. The lens of the eye is, obviously, a vital component of the visual system due to its ability to focus light (via changes in shape while maintaining transparency. Unfortunately, this transparency decreases with age. The majority of people over sixty years of age display some degree of cataract formation. With normal aging there is a progressive increase in size, weight, and density of the lens, but although cataracts are common they should not be considered normal.
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In cataract formation, the normal protective mechanisms are unable to prevent free-radical damage totally. The lens, like many other tissues of the body, is dependant on adequate levels and activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione (GSH) and adequate levels of the accessory antioxidants vitamins E and C and selenium to aid in preventing free-radical damage. Individuals with higher dietary intakes of vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenes have a much lower risk of developing cataracts.
The power of Vitamin C:
Several clinical studies have demonstrated that vitamin C supplementation can halt cataract progression and, in some cases, significantly improve vision. For example, in one study conducted in 1939, 450 patients with cataracts were placed on a nutritional program that included 1 gram of vitamin C per day, which resulted in a significant reduction in cataract development. Though similar patients had previously required surgery within four years, among the vitamin-C-treated patients only a small number required surgery. During the eleven-year period of the study, most of the vitamin-C-treated patients showed no evidence that the cataracts progressed.
The concepts of internal cleansing and detoxification have been around for quite some time. In modern times, as society has increasingly been exposed to toxic compounds in the air, water, and food, it has become apparent that our ability to detoxify substances to which we are exposed is of critical importance in our overall health.
Identifying toxins in the body and natural ways to support the detoxification and elimination of these harmful compounds. Toxic substances are everywhere... in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Even our bodies and the bacteria in our intestines produce toxic substances.
Toxins can damage the body in an insidious and cumulative way. Once the detoxification system becomes overloaded, toxic metabolites (products of metabolism) accumulate, and we become progressively more sensitive to other chemicals, some of which are not normally toxic. This accumulation of toxins can wreak havoc on our normal metabolic process.
To focus on enhancing detoxification primarily by promoting improved liver function. Our modern environment seriously overloads our liver, resulting in increased levels of circulating toxins in the blood, which damage most of our body's systems. An overburdened liver sends out alarm signals that manifest as psoriasis, acne, chronic headaches, inflammatory and autoimmune disease, and chronic fatigue.
Types of Toxins
You may be asking, "What exactly is a toxin?"
A toxin is defined as any compound that has a detrimental effect on cell function or structure. Obviously, some toxins cause minimal negative effects while others can be fatal. We have organized the discussion of toxins as follows
*Breakdown products of protein metabolism
Including in this category are the following heavy metals: lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and aluminum. These metals tend to accumulate within the brain, kidneys, and immune system, where they can severely disrupt normal function.
This category of toxins is primarily dealt with by the liver and includes toxic chemicals, drugs alcohol, solvents, formaldehyde, pesticides, herbicides, and food additives. It is staggering to contemplate the tremendous load placed on the liver as it detoxifies the incredible quantity of toxic chemicals it is constantly exposed to.
Toxins produced by bacteria and yeast in the gut can be absorbed, causing significant disruption of body functions. Examples of these types of toxins include toxins from bacteria (endotoxins and exotoxins), toxic amines, toxic derivatives of bile, and various carcinogenic substances.
Breakdown Products Of Protein Metabolism
The kidneys are largely responsible for the elimination of toxic waste products of protein breakdown (ammonia, urea, etc.). Drinking adequate amounts of water and avoiding excessive protein intake can support the kidneys in their important function.
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Part 1 of 2: Medical Reviewers
Healthline Medical ReviewersThe medical reviewers who comprise the Healthline medical review team serve a crucial role in ensuring that our content is accurate, current, and consumer-focused. Their collective expertise is extensive and representative not only of a variety of medical specialties but also different aspects within theses specialties, including clinical practice, research, and patient advocacy. It is this breadth of perspective that allows us to provide you with the quality information that you need, can understand, and can use to take an active role in your own healthcare.
Jason C. Baker, MDEndocrinology, Diabetes, and MetabolismDr. Baker is an assistant professor of clinical medicine and attending endocrinologist at Cornell Medical College in New York. He also is a contributing author for the Medical Letter and Physician’s Weekly, and a contributing editor to the online health communities of dLife and Healthline.
Dr. Baker, who has type 1 diabetes mellitus, is the founder and board chair of the nonprofit organization Marjorie’s Fund, a global initiative dedicated to education, care, and research for type 1 diabetes mellitus in resource-poor settings. He also is involved in numerous global health diabetes efforts and was named “International Endocrinologist of the Year” by the Metro New York Association of Diabetes Educators. He was also included in the October 2013 “People to Know” edition of Diabetes Forecast, a publication of the American Diabetes Association, and received the Humanitarian Award from the Diabetes Research Institute in 2014.
Dr. Baker is a graduate of Emory University College and Medical School. He completed an internal medicine residency at New York University and a fellowship in diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center.
Natalie Butler, RD, LDNutritionNatalie is a dietitian who is passionate about real food and nutrition and endeavors to have a positive impact on the health of those she reaches. She began her own practice, Nutrition By Natalie, in 2006, and has since helped domestic and international clients and companies achieve health and weight goals through her use of nutrition videos, social media, meal plans, recipes, product development, and podcasts. In addition to her private practice, Natalie works as a corporate dietitian for Apple, Inc., providing individual and group consultations, recipe development and analysis, seminars, and programs.
Natalie has contributed to award-winning publications and radio programs. She remains one of the top nutrition experts on YouTube.
She holds a B.S. in food, nutrition, and dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University. She completed her graduate dietetic internship through Marywood University, Scranton, PA.
Alan Carter, PharmDPharmacologyAlan has over 35 years of experience in pharmacy, serving as a researcher, educator, and consultant for industry. He has provided support for research and academic health programs, performed medical journal peer review, and served as director of 12 community pharmacy locations.
Additionally, Alan provides accredited continuing education programs for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists and has conducted medication review seminars for church groups and business wellness programs. Currently, he's actively working with state, national and nonprofit institutions on multiple projects to help improve public health education and new medication therapy options.
Alan received both a B.S. in pharmacy and a PharmD from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He also has published 12 peer-reviewed medical journal research papers and articles to date.
Christine A. Frank, DDSDentistryDr. Frank is a general dentist, licensed in Illinois. She has been in private practice since 1982. In addition to her private practice, she has worked for the DuPage County Health Department; performing dental screenings for the sealant program in public elementary schools.
Dr. Frank has been a Consultant for MetLife Insurance, reviewing dental claims since 2003. Her diverse work experience brings a unique perspective to her contributions to the Healthline Review Board.
Dr. Frank earned her dental surgery degree from Loyola University of Chicago. She also has a B.S. in chemistry from St. Mary’s College.
Monica Gross, MD, MPHPediatricsDr. Gross has more than 20 years of experience as a practicing pediatrician. She believes that raising healthy children is an opportunity for families and communities to do their best and most important work. As a mother of four, her approach to parenting and pediatrics is down to earth, practical, and balanced.
Dr. Gross received a medical degree from the University of Washington Medical School, completed her pediatric residency at the University of Michigan and has a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Steven Kim, MDFamily MedicineDr. Kim is a residency-trained family physician with more than 20 years of clinical experience in family practice. In the last few years, he has transitioned out of full-time practice to focus on medical writing and editing as well as academic teaching.
He received a B.S. in human biology from Stanford University, and a medical degree from University of California at Davis. Additionally, Dr. Kim is a member of the American Academy of Family Practice.
George Krucik, MD, MBAMedicine and Information TechnologyDr. Krucik has a dual career in both medicine and information technology. He has practiced primary care medicine in the Bay Area for more than 14 years and has served in an executive capacity for several public software companies, including Autodesk Australia and EleTel.
Dr. Krucik received a B.S. in computer science and mathematics and a medical degree from the University of Manitoba, in Canada. Additionally, he has an MBA from the University of San Francisco.
Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDENutrition and DiabetesPeggy is a registered/licensed dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. Peggy has been developing individual nutrition and exercise programs for more than 20 years. Additionally, she has developed and led group classes on a variety of topics, including comprehensive weight loss and diabetes management.
Peggy is approved to deliver conversation map diabetes group education classes. She also has authored numerous articles on disease-specific nutrition and fitness and sports nutrition for both Internet sites and magazines. Additionally, Peggy has been a speaker for the Chicago Marathon prerace nutrition clinic.
Peggy has extensive experience helping people set realistic goals that lead to achievable results and long-term success. She believes in wellness, a balanced lifestyle, and a holistic approach when helping people achieve their lifestyle and fitness goals.
Peggy has an M.S. in exercise physiology from Northeastern Illinois University, as well as a B.S. in exercise physiology from the University of Illinois. Additionally, she has completed a cardiac rehabilitation internship at Lake Forest Hospital/Northeastern Illinois University, and a dietetic internship at Hines Veterans Administration Hospital.
Usha Rajagopal, MDPlastic and Reconstructive SurgeryDr. Rajagopal is a board-certified plastic surgeon and the medical director of San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center. The center is a leader in cosmetic surgery of the face, breast, and body. The center also offers the latest in cosmetic dermatology, medical skin care, and laser treatments.
Dr. Rajagopal's media appearances include Marie Claire, Eye on the Bay, KRON-4, Women-Now TV, San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, Channel 7 News, and Readers’ Digest. She is also a regular contributor to RealSelf, a Patient’s Choice award winner, and a botox Platinum Level injector.
Dr. Rajagopal earned a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Additionally, she had a fellowship in plastic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a member of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Jennifer Monti, MD, MPHCardiology, Intensive Care, and Public HealthDr. Monti is a resident in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her interests include cardiology, intensive care, and public health.
Dr. Monti received an A.B. in biochemistry from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She went on to receive a medical degree and master's of public health from Case Western Reserve University, and is completing residency at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Monti was born and raised in Connecticut. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, marathon running, and travel.
Brenda Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBARheumatologyDr. Spriggs is a recognized expert in the field of rheumatology and has demonstrated her passion for quality health care by serving on numerous health-related boards, including the Arthritis Foundation, Children’s Hospital of San Francisco Ambulatory Services, Providence Hospital, Sisters of Charity and is currently a member of the emeritus board of the Alta Bates Summit Foundation.
Dr. Spriggs operated a private rheumatology/immunology-focused practice for 25 years, while teaching at Children’s Hospital, San Francisco and the University of California, San Francisco, where she was conferred the status of clinical professor emeritus in 2006. Her commitment to improving access to and the quality of medical care for health care consumers goes beyond the institutions she has served during her professional clinical career. Dr. Spriggs is the co-founder of Newell & Spriggs Consulting, LLC, which is a healthcare company devoted to promoting health literacy, which she sees as a major contributor to the ever-widening gap in access to quality care for individuals of all socioeconomic levels.
Dr. Spriggs has served as a board director of the Women’s Foundation of California and is a founding director of One PacificCoast Bank, FSB, organizations that are actively addressing the health, social and economic injustices that affect the most vulnerable in our communities, causes about which she is passionate. She is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching excellence, professional achievement, and many notable academic honors. She is the co-author of a recently published book, "Focus On YOUR BEST HEALTH: Smart Guide to the Health Care You Deserve."
Dr. Spriggs received a B.S. in biology from Fisk University, graduating summa cum laude. She received a medical degree from Meharry Medical College, graduating with highest honors. She matriculated as an N.I.H. rheumatology fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology. She received a master’s of public health from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA from Claremont Graduate University’s Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management.
Part 2 of 2: Medical Advisors
Healthline Medical AdvisorsThe Healthline medical advisors provide guidance in the direction and focus of our content. They advise us in our endeavors to constantly refine our processes, to identify your immediate healthcare information needs, and to present information to you in the most useful format. Their role is crucial in steering us toward our mission.
Chair: Paul Auerbach, MD, MS, FACEPDr. Auerbach is the Redlich Family professor of surgery in the division of emergency medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is former professor and chief of emergency medicine at Stanford and Vanderbilt Medical Centers. Dr. Auerbach is a former venture partner with Delphi Ventures in Menlo Park, CA, as well as a previous senior corporate officer with KAI Pharmaceuticals and MedAmerica. He has served as base station medical director for the City and County of San Francisco, as well as medical director for emergency medical services for the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment. Editor of the definitive textbook "Wilderness Medicine" and author of the widely acclaimed "Medicine for the Outdoors," as well as founder and past president of the Wilderness Medical Society, Dr. Auerbach is internationally recognized as a leading authority on emergency medicine, wilderness medicine, and outdoor health and safety. He is the recipient of the DAN America Award from the Divers Alert Network for his service to divers and expertise on hazardous marine animals, and the Outstanding Contribution in Education award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Auerbach has authored or co-authored more than 100 medical articles and textbook chapters in peer-reviewed literature, and is an active blogger, writing Medicine for the Outdoors for the Health Expert Network. Dr. Auerbach has degrees from Duke University, the Duke University School of Medicine, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Monica Bien, MPA, PA-CMonica is a physician assistant and has a background in primary care and emergency medicine. For the last five years, she has worked in the department of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. She is most passionate about her work in the Breast Cancer Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic providing care for women with early stage breast cancer. She is dedicated to providing high-quality care to a multiethnic, multicultural, underserved patient population. Monica’s philosophy and her approach to care are guided by a strong practice in mindfulness meditation and other nontraditional healing methods.
Monica earned a PA-C from Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, California. She also holds a B.S. in biology and physiology from San Francisco State University.
Susan J. Bliss, RPh, MBASue is a registered pharmacist, who has practiced in community pharmacy, long-term care pharmacy, and physicians’ offices, for more than 20 years. To Sue, the best part of pharmacy practice has always been working with patients and their physicians to find the right drug treatment for each patient.
Sue has written many articles and continuing education programs in print and on the web. She’s written about pharmacy ethics, geriatric care, patient drug information, new drug development, drug costs, and the crossroads of technology and medical care.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Oregon State University, an MBA from George Fox University, and a graduate certificate in clinical informatics from the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine.
Stacey K. Boudreaux, Pharm D Stacey has more than 20 years of pharmacy practice experience. Additionally, she has more than 18 years of specialized experience in clinical informatics and drug information. Stacey has worked with several healthcare information technology companies, helping to manage and develop various types of clinical content slated for electronic health records. Stacey obtained a Pharm D from Idaho State University and completed a residency in pharmacy practice at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Nancy Carteron, MD, FACRDr. Carteron specializes in autoimmunity. She is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. As a member of the clinical faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, she mentors physicians in the University’s Arthritis Center as well as in her own practice, which focuses on autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases. Dr. Carteron has been a principal investigator in studies of biologic agents. Additionally, she has performed extensive studies in the areas of immunology, molecular virology, and cellular immunology at Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, San Francisco Medical Centers.
Dr. Carteron co-authored "A Body Out of Balance: Understanding and Treating Sjögren’s Syndrome." She also authored “Cytokines in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Trials and Tribulations,” in Molecular Medicine Today (2000), which marked the beginning of biologic agents being available to treat rheumatoid arthritis. She then developed a clinical education module on rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy for the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Carteron is a fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. She serves as vice chair and cofounder of the HealthWell Foundation and as a board member of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, where she serves on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Task Force. Additionally, she developed the Women’s Health Resource Center at California Pacific Medical Center.
Dr. Carteron received a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and postgraduate training from Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Stanford University, and the University of California, San Francisco.
Patricia Geraghty RN, FNP, MSNPatricia is a nurse practitioner in women’s health. She has authored a manual for pregnancy and was the lead faculty and coordinator of a nurse practitioner program in Oakland, California. She now practices at the Muir Obstetric and Gynecologic Medical Group in Walnut Creek, California, and teaches women’s health content in local nurse practitioner programs.
Patricia speaks nationally at professional meetings on topics pertinent to women’s health and has published in professional journals. She also serves as adjunct clinical faculty at Holy Names University in Oakland, California.
Patricia is certified as a post master’s special studies family nurse practitioner. She received an M.S. in nursing women’s health nurse practitioner from the University of California, San Francisco. She also holds a B.S. in biological and behavioral development from the University of California, Davis.
Violet Hanft RN, BSN, OCNViolet is a breast surgical oncology nurse coordinator at Stanford Women’s Oncology Center at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Her passion for oncology began immediately working in the bone marrow transplant unit and oncology intensive care unit. Violet received her oncology certification in 2003 and began focusing on oncologic care in the ambulatory setting, specifically with the breast cancer population. She became committed to assisting patients in navigating the complex road of breast cancer diagnosis to recovery and rehabilitation.
Violet received a B.S. in nursing from Loyola University School of Nursing. She is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society.
Stephen Kania, MDDr. Kania is a consultant specializing in healthcare information technology and medical informatics. He is a general internist with a diverse background in medical research, medicine, clinical content, and clinical software development. He was the vice president of medical information for Epocrates from 2006–2013. During this time, the company achieved a tripling in the number of active physician users to nearly one in every two physicians in the United States. Dr. Kania was responsible for all clinical content developed at Epocrates as well as non-sponsored, third-party clinical content used within Epocrates products. Prior to joining Epocrates, Stephen was vice president of medical informatics at Zynx Health, and a director within the Knowledge Solutions division at Cerner Corporation.
Dr. Kania has a background in molecular biology research and obtained a medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed his residency and was also chief medical resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center before maintaining a general medical practice with the Medical Group of Beverly Hills.
Mindy S. Marantz, PT, MS, GCFPMindy is the founder and owner of Healthwell Physical Therapy Group in San Francisco, CA. Mindy has studied advanced manual therapy techniques for orthopedics and musculoskeletal dysfunction. She is currently involved with the Barral Institute studying visceral and neural manipulation. Her community service included serving on the board of directors of the French American Foundation for Medical Research and Education, as well as the National Pain Foundation.
Jaqui Parker, RPhJaqui Parker is a Senior Informaticist with Apelon, an international informatics company. She is also a registered pharmacist with 15 years of experience working in diverse pharmacy practice settings. She currently is a participant in the SNOMED CT Implementation Advisor Scheme. Jaqui has applied the knowledge gained in these clinical settings to the development of medical informatics tools, with a focus on medical terminology.
Jaqui has collaborated with a well-established drug information company to model and create a comprehensive drug allergy database linking their local terms to SNOMED CT and RxNorm. Jaqui was a key contributor in the FDA effort to index the Physician Labeling Rule (PLR) compliant drug labels, using LOINC and SNOMED CT.
Karen Revelli-WeixelKaren is a breast patient navigator at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center where she provides resources, education, and support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. In 2005, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is through this experience that she learned the importance of being very involved in one’s treatment, and the value that an outside advocate can bring to the process. It is Karen’s personal experience that makes her feel blessed with the opportunity to make use of her knowledge and experience to help others who are currently undergoing a similar life experience.
Karen received a B.A. in community health education from California State University, Chico and recently earned a certificate in patient navigation from Sonoma State University.
Tammy Schacher, RN, MSN, CN-BNTammy is a certified breast nurse navigator. She has been an oncology nurse for more than 10 years, and a breast cancer nurse navigator for four years. She works at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California. Tammy also is co-author of "The Chemotherapy Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Treatment," 3rd Edition.
Tammy received an M.S. in nursing from Sonoma State University. She also received an MBA and a master's of public health in health services management from the University of California, Berkeley.
Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDNSusan is a well-respected lecturer for organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, and was the official sports nutritionist for the American Diabetes Association Walk America program. She is the owner of Susan Weiner Nutrition in New York, was an adjunct professor at Queens College, and taught at the Academy of Applied Personal Training Education at Hofstra University. She is a key educational advisor for Marjorie’s Fund, a type 1 diabetes mellitus global initiative dedicated to improving the lives of people with type 1 diabetes mellitus. She also is on the advisory board of DiabetesSisters, a nonprofit organization that promotes diabetes education and advocacy as well as the medical advisory board for dLife.com.
Susan’s first book "The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life" is the first how-to guide on diabetes organization. She co-authored the "Medical Nutrition Therapy for Anemia" chapter for the 13th and 14th editions of "Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process." Susan also is the 2015–2016 editor for On the Cutting Edge, a peer reviewed publication for the Diabetes Care and Education group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan is the 2015 American Association of Diabetes Educators’ Diabetes Educator of the Year. She also was voted one of the 10 top diabetes nutrition education bloggers by iVillage.com.
Susan earned an M.S. in applied physiology and nutrition from Columbia University and is certified in adult weight management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Kevin White, MDDr. White is an internationally recognized expert in fibromyalgia treatment and research as well as a fibromyalgia patient advocate. He brings a breadth of knowledge to Healthline, including medical training in two specialties: internal medicine and rheumatology, and education in medical research in epidemiology. As a former practicing physician and university professor, as well as a patient advocate, Dr. White draws from a wide background of experiences in his contributions to the Healthline Advisory Board.
Dr. White earned a medical degree from University of California, Davis. Additionally, he holds a Ph.D. in epidemiology & biostatistics from the University of Western Ontario, as well as a B.A. in chemistry from Claremont McKenna College.
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