Vitamin C Rich Diet, Not Supplements, May Slow Progression of Cataracts Interview with:

Christopher J. Hammond, MD, FRCOphth Departments of Ophthalmology & Twin Research King's College London St. Thomas' Hospital London UK

Dr. Chris Hammond

Christopher J. Hammond, MD, FRCOphth
Departments of Ophthalmology & Twin Research
King’s College London
St. Thomas’ Hospital
London UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Hammond: Twin studies allow us to quantify the influence of genes vs environment on a trait and this study suggests 65% of variation of cataract progression is due to environmental factors.

Vitamin C has long been linked to cataract because the lens of the eye is bathed in fluid rich in ascorbate, a derivative of vitamin C. We showed that, even in a relatively well-nourished UK population, those in the highest third of vitamin C dietary intake (equating to something like 3 times the RDA of 60mg) had a third less progression of lens opacities. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Hammond: That a healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants (and particularly vitamin C in this case) can help us age more healthily and reduce the oxidation of the lens. We found no benefit from supplements in this study and increasingly many studies find diet and not supplements are associated with health outcomes, so it may be other factors within the healthy diet also play a role, rather than vitamin C on its own. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Hammond: Dietary intervention (rather than vitamin supplementation) study to look at progression of lens opacity would be interesting. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract
Yonova-Doing, Ekaterina et al.
Ophthalmology , Volume 0 , Issue 0
Published Online:March 23, 2016

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Dr. Christopher J. Hammond (2016). Vitamin C Rich Diet, Not Supplments, May Slow Progression of Cataracts