Vitamin E May Reduce Cataracts

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects the body’s cells from the actions of free radicals (oxidants). Free radicals are the waste products of energy metabolism. Free radicals can damage body cells through an oxidative process and increase the risk of the development of heart disease and cancer.

In a study published in the Archives of Opthalmology, dietary vitamin E consumption was evaluated for its possible role in the prevention of cataracts. A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye that obstructs the passage of light. Cataracts are common with increasing age, diabetes, and some medications (steroids). There is some evidence that oxidation of proteins in the lens of the eye may lead to cataracts, and therefore, that antioxidants might possibly reduce the incidence of cataracts. As part of the Nurses Health Study (NHS), 408 women completed dietary questionnaires between 1980 and 1995, and underwent baseline eye examinations. The study showed that intake of vitamin E for 10 years or more was associated with a slower increase in the formation of cataracts.