Scientific evidence has long suggested that vitamin C lowers the risk of cataracts. A recent study out of London supports this theory. Read on as the team at Island Eye Surgicenter breaks down the study and what it could mean for your eye health.
What One Study Found
A team of researchers from King’s College London looked at data from more than 1,000 pairs of female twins. Many factors that could possibly prevent cataracts were examined, including the subjects’ intake of vitamin C and other nutrients from food and supplements. The researchers recorded the opacity of the subjects’ eye lenses when they were around the age of 60, and followed up on more than 300 sets of twins 10 years later.
The study found that women who reported consuming larger amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were 33 percent less likely to experience the progression of cataracts. Additionally, the lenses of their eyes were clearer than the women that ate fewer foods containing vitamin C.
Dr. Christopher Hammond, an ophthalmology professor at King’s College London and author of the study, said that although it is impossible to completely avoid cataracts, eating a diet rich in vitamin C can possibly delay their onset and prevent them from significantly progressing.
This was true only of the women that got their vitamin C through food — not supplements.
The research team was also able to calculate that genetic factors accounted for only 35 percent of the risk in cataract progression. Environmental factors like diet accounted for 65 percent. This underscores the importance of practicing healthy lifestyle habits.
The Important Benefits of Vitamin C
The fluid that fills the eyeball contains a high level of a compound similar to vitamin C; this compound helps to prevent the oxidative process that leads to the clouding of the lens (i.e., a cataract). Eye health experts believe that consuming food rich in vitamin C increases the amount of fluid surrounding and protecting the lens from clouding.
The body does not produce all of the vitamin C needed for optimal health. It must also get vitamin C through diet. Foods that are high in vitamin C include grapefruit, broccoli, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables.
Speak to Our Cataract Surgeons
Despite what we know about vitamin C and cataracts, the visual condition is quite common in aging adults. If you have developed cataracts, the team at Island Eye Surgicenter offers traditional cataract surgery and advanced laser cataract surgery. To learn more about treatment, please call (516) 877-2400 or (516) 877-1560 today.