Vitamins and Cataracts

by Lance Kugler, MD

Discovering why people age has been a scientific conundrum for hundreds of years. One of the most widely accepted theories is that an individual’s cells and DNA become bombarded with accumulated free-radicals, or atoms and molecules with a missing electron. Too many free radicals can pummel healthy cells causing them to be damaged and this may lead to accelerated aging. High doses of the vitamins and antioxidants found in natural fruits and vegetables, which are more readily accessible in supplements, are thought to prevent medical conditions associated with aging, including cataracts.

Studying the Effects of Vitamins Preventing Cataract Development

A study published in 2013 has discovered some interesting news concerning cataract prevention. It was a double-blind and placebo-controlled trial with all-male participants who were 50 years of age and older. There were 14,641 subjects in total with each man receiving an average of 11.2 years of treatment.

Eating Normal Amounts of Healthy Nutrients

This study examined how dietary nutrients influence the development of cataracts. Individuals who ingested normal amounts of the following nutrients as part of their diet showed no significant decrease in cataract development:

  • Vitamin E: found in green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and asparagus
  • Vitamin C: found in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and pineapples
  • Beta-carotene: found in orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins

The test results are surprising, as it is common belief that eating these foods, especially carrots, helps keep eye sight strong.

Observed Reduction in Cataract Development

The case study also observed a different group of individuals who had regularly taken multi-vitamins and high level doses of supplemental anti-oxidants. In these instances, the study showed that the subjects were either mildly or significantly less likely to show signs of developing cataracts.

Rethinking Pre-Conceived Notions

This study suggests that a good diet is not enough to prevent some side effects of aging. Indeed, adding a regular multi-vitamin to one’s daily regimen may keep a person younger for longer. That being said, vitamin supplements are not the miracle cure for all ailments. There were still many cases of people developing cataracts even with the addition of more anti-oxidants.

Treating Cataracts

Based on this study’s findings, you should be proactive with your health and start taking a multi-vitamin. However, if you develop cataracts despite your best efforts, you can also pursue surgical cataract removal if you experience fuzzy or impaired vision as you age. Ophthalmology has advanced significantly, especially in the past decade, and more reliable and affordable cataracts treatments have been developed. Now, more than ever before, it is easy and safe to have your cataracts corrected with the help of laser surgery and advanced synthetic lenses.

kugler vision doctor lance kugler

Lance Kugler, MD, is a specialist in LASIK and vision correction surgery and CEO of Kugler Vision. A proud Omaha native, he is passionate about improving lives through clear vision. Dr. Kugler serves on several national boards, and his practice is recognized internationally as a center of excellence. Dr. Kugler is one of the original founders of the Refractive Surgery Alliance, an international organization comprised of over 350 of the world’s leading vision correction surgeons; he also served as its first president. In 2019, Dr. Kugler was selected as a TEDx speaker, and delivered a talk in Omaha about the worldwide epidemic of nearsightedness and refractive solutions. Dr. Kugler is an Associate Professor of Refractive Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Truhlsen Eye Institute, has been published in many medical journals, and participates in numerous clinical studies to advance the field of vision correction surgery. Dr. Kugler and his wife are proud parents to five active kids. When he has a spare moment, he enjoys skiing, tennis, travel, and fine coffee.

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