Consuming a Diet Rich in Vitamin C May Decrease the Chance of Cataracts

If you would like to keep cataracts under control, consume foods rich in vitamin C. A study presented in Ophthalmology recommends that diet and lifestyle, instead of genetics, may have the most considerable effect on cataract development, and vitamin C could reduce the risk of the condition by one-third.

Cataracts develop with age, a cataract clouds the lens of the eye, triggering it to become opaque and decreasing vision. Cataracts are the top cause of blindness globally, regardless of the fact that cataract eradication surgery is now a routine procedure.

Outcomes of a survey of 19 US states, performed in 2006-2008 and presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend that cataracts affect about 29.2 percent of People in America.

Investigators from King’s College London, in the UK, have been analyzing the role of nutrients in blocking the development of cataracts, along with the relative effect of environmental factors – such as diet – in comparison with genetic influence.

They gathered information from 1,000 pairs of female twins in the UK. Individuals completed a set of questions that tracked their consumption of vitamins A, B, C, D and E and of copper, manganese and zinc and other nutrients.

Environmental effect outweighs genetic impact on cataract development

The development of cataracts was evaluated using digital imaging by measuring the opacity of individuals’ lenses when the contributors were about 60 years old.

Repeat measurements were performed on 324 pairs of the twins around a decade later.

The initial measurement connected a high vitamin C consumption with about 20 percent reduced the risk of cataracts. The 10-year evaluation unveiled a 33 percent reduced risk of cataract development in women whose diet was rich in foods that contained vitamin C.

Genetic factors were accountable for 35 percent of the variation in cataract development, while environmental aspects, like diet, accounted for 65 percent, indicating that genetic effect on cataract progression may be less significant than earlier considered.

The power of vitamin C in suppressing cataracts development may lie in its antioxidant properties. The fluid within the eye is generally high in vitamin C, which allows stops oxidation that clouds the lens.

The investigators think that eating food rich in vitamin C may increase the levels of vitamin C in the liquid around the lens, providing extra protection. The research only concentrated on the intake of vitamin C through foods and not through dietary supplements.

Research author Dr. Christopher Hammond states that:

“The very significant finding was that vitamin C consumption from food seemed to protect against cataract development. While we cannot completely avoid developing cataracts, we may be capable of postponing their onset and keeping them from worsening considerably by consuming a diet rich in vitamin C.”