Nutritional modulation of cataract

Authors

  • Karen A Weikel,

    1. Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, JM-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Caren Garber,

    1. Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, JM-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Alyssa Baburins,

    1. Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, JM-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Allen Taylor

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, JM-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    • Correspondence: A Taylor, Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research, JM-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, 711 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111, USA. E-mail: allen.taylor@tufts.edu.

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Abstract

Lens opacification or cataract reduces vision in over 80 million people worldwide and blinds 18 million. These numbers will increase dramatically as both the size of the elderly demographic and the number of those with carbohydrate metabolism-related problems increase. Preventative measures for cataract are critical because the availability of cataract surgery in much of the world is insufficient. Epidemiologic literature suggests that the risk of cataract can be diminished by diets that are optimized for vitamin C, lutein/zeaxanthin, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, multivitamins, and carbohydrates: recommended levels of micronutrients are salutary. The limited data from intervention trials provide some support for observational studies with regard to nuclear – but not other types of – cataracts. Presented here are the beneficial levels of nutrients in diets or blood and the total number of participants surveyed in epidemiologic studies since a previous review in 2007.

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