Introduction Cataract is among the major causes of vision impairment and blindness worldwide. Epidemiological studies support the role of antioxidants in the aetiology of cataract, but the evidence for one specific antioxidant over another is inconsistent. We examined the associations between cataract and fruit and vegetable intake and dietary and blood levels of carotenoids, vitamin A, C and E.
Methods Cross-sectional population-based study with 583 elderly ≥65, from Alicante province, participants of the European multi-centre EUREYE study. Cataracts were diagnosed using a slit-lamp examination. Energy-adjusted intake of antioxidant vitamins was estimated using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Plasma concentrations of vitamin C were analysed by a colourimetric method and carotenoids by a HPLC method. The associations between cataract and quartiles of fruit and vegetable intake and antioxidants were investigated using multiple logistic regression models.
Results After adjusting for other factors, participants in the highest quartile of fruit and vegetable intake (>575 g/day) had a reduced risk of cataract, (OR=0.42; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.79; p-trend <0.001). Intakes of vitamin C of 143–408 mg/d, and vitamin E of 9.3–10.7 mg/day, showed a significant lower risk of cataract, (OR=0.34; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.82) and (OR=0.41; 95% CI 0.20 to 0.82), respectively. Plasma α-tocopherol levels from 31.2 μmol/l were also associated with a decreased risk (OR=0.30; 95% CI 0.15 to 0.60).
Conclusions High intake of fruit and vegetables, vitamin E and C was associated with a significantly decreased risk of cataract in this older Mediterranean population.
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