Vitamin C Rich diet prevents cataract: study

Vitamin C-rich diet prevents cataract: study

Diet rich in vitamin C not only prevents conditions like common colds but also prevents progression of cataract, a new study published in the journal Ophthalmology suggests. Vitamin C rich diet has been linked to general well-being in many earlier research projects as well. It will be the best to get vitamin C from natural food sources.

Cataract is a very common condition of the eyes during old age, in which the lens becomes cloudy due to oxidation over time. Whilst cataract is a natural part of ageing for several people, for some it becomes severe, causing blurred vision and dazzle that can’t be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Christopher Hammond found that a regular intake of vitamin C delays the cataracts’ beginning and helps people arrest the worsening of the condition.

Chris Hammond, of King’s College, said, “While we cannot avoid getting older, diabetes and smoking are also risk factors for this type of cataract, and so a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle generally should reduce the risk of needing a cataract operation.”

The research was comprised of a total of 324 female twins who were enrolled from the U.K.’s Twins registry. A survey was made to all the volunteers to measure their intakes of vitamin C. The study involved both vitamins C in its natural form and in the form of supplements.

The findings could have significant impact, particularly for the world’s ageing population, as it revealed that simple dietary changes such as increased intake of citrus fruits could help prevent cataract.

A report published in the NYTimes said, "Cataracts that cloud the lenses of the eye develop naturally with age, but a new study is one of the first to suggest that diet may play a greater role than genetics in their progression. Researchers had about 1,000 pairs of female twins in Britain fill out detailed food questionnaires that tracked their nutrient intake. Their mean age was just over 60."

“We found no beneficial effect from supplements, only from the vitamin C in the diet,” said Dr. Christopher Hammond, a professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London and an author of the study,published in Ophthalmology. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, broccoli and dark leafy greens.

"A diet rich in vitamin C could cut risk of cataract progression by a third, suggests a study being published online today in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The research is also the first to show that diet and lifestyle may play a greater role than genetics in cataract development and severity," according to a news report published by Hola-Arkansas.

How vitamin C inhibits cataract progression may have to do with its strength as an antioxidant. The fluid inside the eye is normally high in vitamin C, which helps prevents oxidation that clouds the lens. More vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present in the fluid around the lens, providing extra protection. Researchers noted that the findings only pertain to consuming the nutrient through food and not vitamin supplements.

In a report published by the Business-Standard, "Higher intake of vitamin C in the diet may potentially prevent progression of cataract, a new study in twins has found. Cataract is a common condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy as a result of oxidation over time. Whilst this is a natural part of ageing for many, for others it is more severe and causes blurred vision, glare and dazzle that cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses."

"The findings of this study could have significant impact, particularly for the ageing population globally by suggesting that simple dietary changes such as increased intake of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthier diet could help protect them from cataracts," said Chris Hammond from King's College.

"While we cannot avoid getting older, diabetes and smoking are also risk factors for this type of cataract, and so a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle generally should reduce the risk of needing a cataract operation," said Hammond.

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