Diet and lifestyle might play critical role in cataract development and severity

A new study was recently published in the American Academy of Opthalmology journal, Ophthalmology, which is the first to show that diet and lifestyle may play a greater role than genetics in cataract development and severity. The study shows that a diet rich in vitamin C could cut risk of cataract progression by a third. 
A cataract occurs when proteins clump together in the eye’s lens and interfere with light passing through to the retina. This causes a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which results in blurred, fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light. Many young people in Louisville, and half of all people over the age of 60 suffer from cataracts in one or both eyes.
So, researchers at King’s College London examined whether certain nutrients from food or supplements could help prevent cataract progression. They also wanted to study how much environmental factors such as diet mattered versus genetics. Researchers found that diets rich in vitamin C were associated with a 20 percent risk reduction for cataract; genetic factors accounted for 35 percent, and environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent in cataract progression.

“The most important finding was that vitamin C intake from food seemed to protect against cataract progression,” said study author Christopher Hammond, M.D., FRCOphth, professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London. “While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C.” 

To learn more about this new study, you can read more here. 

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