October 11, 2011
1 min read

Lack of vitamin C shows strong correlation with incidence of cataracts

Ophthalmology. 2011;118(10):1958-1965

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There is a strong association between depleted levels of vitamin C and cataracts, according to an Indian study.

The analysis examined 5,638 people age 60 years or older from randomly sampled villages in two areas of north and south India. Participants provided a blood sample for testing and took part in a clinical exam, including lens photography.

The study showed a strong inverse association between vitamin C and cataract (P = .0000011), with minimal impact when other antioxidants were considered in the model (P < .0001).

Similar inverse proportionality was seen by type of cataracts: nuclear (P < .0001), cortical (P < .002) and posterior subcapsular (P < .00003), according to the study.

Lutein, zeaxanthin and retinol also were inversely associated with cataract, but not to the same degree or with the same consistency, the study authors said.

Possible limitations to the study include that measure of diet and blood antioxidants were done at the same time, making it more difficult to establish temporal relations between vitamin C and cataract, according to the study.

"The strong association with vitamin C and cataract in our vitamin C-depleted population may, in part, explain the high levels of cataract in India," the study authors said. "Studies are needed on vitamin C and cataract in other vitamin C-depleted populations."