The role of nutrition in cataract development: A review of the literature

1 October 2004
Volume 05, Issue 4

This article reviews the evidence for the role of nutrition in the development of cataract.

Abstract

This article reviews the evidence for the role of nutrition in the development of cataract. The possibility that attention to nutritional intake can delay the development of cataract is attractive. The only treatment for cataract is surgery. However, this has cost implications for health services and in developing countries surgery may not be widely available. Identification of nutritional factors will provide information about the aetiology of the disease and possible strategies for prevention. Antioxidant nutrients (eg carotenoids, vitamins C and E) are found in the lens and have the potential to protect the lens from damage by free radicals, which is an important factor in the development of cataract. Published data support an inverse association between intakes of antioxidant nutrients and cataract. However, intervention trials have so far yielded limited evidence of benefit for antioxidant supplementation. Further investigation is therefore required to clarify the role of these nutrients in the development of cataract.

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