Maintaining a Vitamin-C-Rich Diet Helps Prevent Cataracts: Report

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Mar 29, 2016 04:49 PM EDT

390656 06: Vitamin C, which is widely touted as cancer preventive, is on display June 15, 2001 in Miami, FL. In a test tube study, reported by the Journal of Science, University of Pennsylvania researchers found that the vitamin accelerated the production of compounds that damage DNA, potentially producing mutations associated with cancer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) (Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Many aging people have to deal with Cataracts but a new study published in Ophthalmology revealed that a good way to minimize the likelihood of the disease is to maintain a diet rich in Vitamin C and various fruits and vegetables.

Healthy Diet Minimizes Risk of Cataracts

The study confirmed the importance of a good diet in reducing the risk of the eye disease by studying 1,000 pairs of female twins from the UK Twins Registry. All of the participants were around 60 years of age when they answered a detailed questionnaire that included their daily nutrient intake.

The team also scanned their eyes to observe the development of cataracts and found that the participants who had a regular serving of vitamin C, as well as about two servings of fruit and vegetables daily, were 20 percent less likely to get cataracts. In a follow-up study 10 years later, researchers were able to contact 324 of the original pairs and discovered that those with more vitamin C in their diet were now 33 percent less likely to develop cataracts than the others.

Lead author Dr. Chris Hammond, also the chair of ophthalmology at King's College, confirmed the importance of their research in a press release.

"The findings of this study could have significant impact, particularly for the ageing population globally by suggesting that simple dietary changes such as increased intake of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthier diet could help protect them from cataracts," Hammond said.

However, the physician added that the benefits reaped aren't just getting their dose of vitamins from supplements. The best results of the study were found in those who had a consistent diet of at least twice the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables of 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men.

The researchers also reiterated their belief that 35 percent of the risk in cataract progression are from genetic factors while 65 percent stem from environmental factors including the diet. Some of the Vitamin C rich foods are oranges, red and green bell peppers, cantaloupe, papaya, kiwi, broccoli and dark leafy greens.

Cataract Surgery With Stem Cells Emerges

For those who has developed cataract, one of the new forms of cataract surgery that is showing promise is the use of the patient's stem cells to "regrow" new and healthy lens. The procedure was developed by researchers from the University of California San Diego and China, and published in the journal Nature.

An experimental procedure was performed with promising results in 12 infants with congenital cataract condition, but it remains to be seen if the new method will work in older people, who have a different regenerative capacity of stem cells and other challenges.

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