Vitamin C & Cataracts

By: Kara Forwith

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are the clouding of the eye's lens and can happen in both eyes or just one eye. When the clouding of the lens starts to form, it start's to affect a person's ability to see. The most common cause of cataracts is aging. Cataracts are very common in older adult, by age 80, most adults either have cataracts or have had surgery to fix cataracts.
Cataract

Article Summary: Diets Rich in Vitamin C Can Protect Against Cataracts

Eat your carrots, have excellent eyesight- that's the myth that everyone has followed for years. Researchers have taken this myth to a whole new level; claiming that adding foods rich in vitamin C to your diet may improve or slow down the progression of cataracts.


Over the time span of 10 years, researchers in London, England monitored and evaluated the progression of cataracts in 324 pairs of female twins, who were 60 years old. Researchers used nutrition questionnaires, in order to track patient's intake of foods rich in vitamin C, and examined pictures of the twins lenses, in order to determine the disease progression.


Researchers discovered that environmental factors, like a person's diet, could have a preventative effect against cataracts. At the start of the trial, any individual with diets rich in Vitamin C had a 20% decreased risk for cataracts. After 10 years, the twins who participated in the study, had a 33% decreased risk of cataract progression, compared to those individuals who do not consume high amounts of vitamin C.


With the conclusion of the study, researchers are claiming that an increase in vitamin C intake also increases the vitamin C that is already present in eye fluid, which forms a protective barrier against cataracts, which in turn slows down the progression in someone who has cataracts.


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 60-95 milligrams of vitamin C a day but not exceed 2,000 mg, which is the upper limit for vitamin C. It is recommended that individuals get their vitamin C from foods such as bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, kiwifruit, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas, rather than a vitamin C supplement. Researches noted that the findings in this study only relate to those consuming vitamin C through foods and not vitamin C supplements.

Article Critique

US News is a website made up of a lot of different writers, most of which do not have a degree on anything they are reporting about. For example, the author that wrote this article doesn't have a degree or any background on anything to do with health, medicine, diets, or nutrition; he is just an author that was given an assignment and told to write a report on it. With that being said, I think that makes the website not credible. If I were a patient with cataracts, I would want to read articles that came from a doctor or a health professional, someone with a medical background that could tell me if increasing vitamin C would for sure help my progression of cataracts decrease.


I didn't find that this study was very well performed either, it was very one sided and was only performed one time. The study only looked at female patients, patients who were age 60, and patients who were twins, which ignores the differences among individuals. Males are diagnosed with cataracts just like females are so the fact that this study was only performed on females makes it even less believable. Adults older than 60 get cataracts so when the study only used patients who were 60 makes the study less believable also.


The study was also performed in a different country. Our healthcare in the United States is different from other countries healthcare, so medical professionals here versus medical professionals in the UK could have differences of opinions on what is helpful in slowing down the progression of cataracts.



I feel like this study could be repeated here in the United States, using males and females of all different ages, and not use just twins. I think if those variables changed then it would make the study more credible. I think it would be interesting to see if increasing vitamin C would actually help slow down the progression of cataracts because unfortunately this is probably something that all of us are going to have to deal with, and if we could fix it with a simple fix that would be awesome!

Works Cited

Predict, R. (2016, March 24). Healthy Amount of Vitamin C Might Keep Cataracts At Bay. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2016-03-24/healthy-amount-of-vitamin-c-might-keep-cataracts-at-bay