and Cataract Prevention
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes opaque--preventing light from passing through--and can lead to blindness. Currently, surgery is the only method for preventing blindness due to cataracts.
New Tufts research suggests that vitamin supplements, particularly long-term use of vitamin E, may slow the development of cataracts. Lead scientist Paul Jacques, DSc, director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and his colleagues analyzed the diets and examined the eyes of 408 women, ages 52 to 74, over five years. Participants who reported having supplemented their diets with vitamin E for at least 10 years showed significantly less progression of cataract development. A similar relative decrease in cataract progression was seen in women who reported higher intakes of two of the B vitamins, riboflavin and thiamin, compared to those with lower intakes.
"Our results suggest that vitamin supplementation, particularly long-term use of vitamin E, may slow down cataract development," said Paul Jacques, director of nutritional epidemiology at the Tufts University USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Medford, Mass. In an earlier phase of the same study (2001), Jacques and colleagues also found that vitamin C supplementation demonstrated similar protective effects against development of cataracts.
Source: Archives of Ophthalmology: 2005, Vo. 123, 517-26.
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