A possible role for vitamins C and E in cataract prevention.


Robertson JM, Donner AP, Trevithick JR




Am J Clin Nutr


Biochemical evidence suggests that oxidative stress caused by accumulation of free radicals is involved in the pathogenesis of senile cataracts. If so, appropriate amounts of the antioxidant vitamins C and E might be expected to prevent or retard the process. Such activity has been observed in several in vitro and in vivo studies of experimentally-induced cataracts. A recent epidemiologic study found that cataract patients tended to have lower serum levels of vitamins C, E, or carotenoids than did control subjects. The present investigation, which compared the self-reported consumption of supplementary vitamins by 175 cataract patients with that of 175 individually matched, cataract-free subjects, revealed that the latter group used significantly more supplementary vitamins C and E (P = 0.01 and 0.004, respectively). Because the results suggested a reduction in the risk of cataracts of at least 50%, a randomized, controlled trial of vitamin supplementation in cataract prevention may be warranted.