How Vitamin C Might Help You See

Cataract progression may be influenced by vitamin C intake

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(RxWiki News) A diet high in vitamin C could cut the risk of cataract progression by a third, suggests a study published recently in the journal Ophthalmology.

Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy and are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. For the current study, researchers at King's College London looked at whether certain nutrients or vitamins could help prevent cataract progression. They also tried to find out how much of a role environmental factors like diet play — versus genetics.

This study examined the progression of cataracts in the eyes of 324 pairs of female twins from the Twins UK registry over 10 years. These researchers examined photographs of the participants' lenses, which allowed them to analyze the level of opacity of the lens in detail.

Participants were also given a food survey to measure intake of vitamin C and other nutrients.

Participants who got plenty of vitamin C had a one-third lower risk of cataracts over 10 years, compared to those who got less vitamin C. However, obtaining vitamin C via a supplement did not appear to reduce the risk.

This study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Guide Dogs for the Blind, also found that environmental factors (including diet) influenced cataracts more than genetic factors, which only explained a third of the change in lens opacity.

More research is needed to reinforce these findings before diet recommendations can be made.

These researchers disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Last Updated:
March 30, 2016