Finnish research echoes earlier reports of link between low levels of certain nutrients and cataracts (WDDTY, Vol. 3 No. 5; Vol. 3 No. 8).
The researchers in Finland (BMJ, 5 December 1992) tracked a group of 1419 elderly patients over a 15 year period. They found that the 47 of these who were admitted to hospital for cataracts had lower levels of vitamins E and B in their blood samples than their cataract free counterparts.
The researchers suggest that vitamins E and B may act as cataract preventatives because of their antioxidating properties. The oxidation of lens proteins by free radicals is believed to be an important factor in causing clouding of the lens in cataract sufferers.
They found no link, however, between cataracts and levels of vitamin A or selenium, an enzyme which helps protect against oxidative damage.
The researchers call for controlled trials to test the role of antioxidant vitamins in cataract prevention.