A maverick ophthalmologist, who has saved the sight of many thousands of patients in Britain and Africa, offers a way to treat cataracts without surgery.
In an earlier issue (Vol. 2 No. 3 ) we introduced Stanley Evans, a British ophthalmologist who has cured many eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts, through a nutritional approach. This maverick, now in his seventies, developed his nutritional approach in Britain in the Forties and then spent 17 years in Africa on an extended research programme into the causes and prevention of blindness. He made the connection between many eye disorders and nutritional deficiency, and after studying which nutrients affected which parts of the eye, he developed a dietary therapy which has helped thousands of cataract patients.Then in the early Eighties, Mr Evans returned to Britain, where he had published much of his research in respected journals like The Optician. Evans claims that the research he has studied and published for some 44 years is only recently being confirmed by other sources. Roche Phamaceuticals, for instance, organized a conference several years ago studying vitamins E ,C and A and their role in the prevention of cataracts. Evans notes this research with amusement since the vitamin division of Roche manufactures the supplement he developed and has used on his patients for many years.
Mr Evans' work has been confirmed by the work of two Americans, using a similar approach (see p 2).
The majority of cataract patients in Britain do not know they have the disease until some time after it has developed. This is the case simply because the practitioner treating them is taught in medical school that nothing can be done, so he puts off the ordeal of informing the patient until his vision is affected, or the cataract "ripened". [Or, in some cases, uses techniques to hasten the ripening process along. Editor.]
Cataract, says his doctor, is an inevitable outcome of old age; he must live with the handicap until the cataract is sufficiently developed to allow the crystalline lens to be removed surgically and replaced either by spectacles, contact lenses or implants. He is also told that cataract is irreversible and that nothing can be done about it. Only those who suffer from this condition can really understand how cruel this attitude is.
A number of different forms of cataract exist, but the most common in the developed countries, which usually starts after the age of 50, is known as "senile cataract". This is regarded as a normal consequence of ageing and has even been compared to grey hair. This is because a high percentage of people over 50 years of age develop cataract (65 per cent), and a much higher percentage over 60 years of age (96 per cent).
Other forms of cataract are caused by metabolic disorders such as diabetes, or by outside influences such as toxins, trauma, radiation, prescribed and non prescribed drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Congenital cataract, which is rare in Britain but common in the developing countries, is caused either by malnutrition and/or by drugs, alcohol and smoking during pregnancy. Nevertheless, the senile cataract of the developed countries is indistinguishable from the majority of cataracts seen in developing countries caused by malnutrition and nutritional deficiency.
The exceptions demonstrate that although age could be a factor in its onset, it evidently is not the root cause. Many people at 90 are free of cataract. Our work in Africa has demonstrated that it is basically a nutritional disorder. In the developed countries, a person's nutritional status is reduced by changes in metabolism caused by ageing, which in a large number of cases is still further compromised by alcohol, careless feeding habits, smoking, and stress brought on by illness or prescription drugs. But if the patient improves his diet and maintains a high nutritional status, the evidence available confirms that cataract isn't likely to develop. Even when it has, if these measures are taken its development can in many cases be arrested.