The association of consumption of fruits/vegetables with decreased risk of glaucoma among older African-American women in the study of osteoporotic fractures

Am J Ophthalmol. 2012 Oct;154(4):635-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2012.03.048. Epub 2012 Jul 20.


Purpose: To explore the association between consumption of fruits and vegetables and the presence of glaucoma in older African-American women.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Disc photographs and suprathreshold visual fields were obtained from the 662 African-American participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. Masked, trained readers graded all discs, and 2 glaucoma specialists reviewed photographs and visual fields. The Block Food Frequency Questionnaire assessed food consumption. Relationships between selected fruit/vegetable/nutrient consumption and glaucoma were evaluated using logistic regression models after adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: After excluding women missing Food Frequency Questionnaire and disc data, 584 African-American women (88.2% of total African-American cohort) were included. Glaucoma was diagnosed in at least 1 eye in 77 subjects (13%). Women who ate 3 or more servings/day of fruits/fruit juices were 79% (odds ratio [OR] = 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.08-0.60) less likely to have glaucoma than women who ate less than 1 serving/day. Women who consumed more than 2 servings/week of fresh oranges (OR = 0.18; 95% CI: 0.06-0.51) and peaches (OR = 0.30; 95% CI: 0.13-0.67) had a decreased odds of glaucoma compared to those consuming less than 1 serving/week. For vegetables, >1 serving/week compared to ≤1 serving/month of collard greens/kale decreased the odds of glaucoma by 57% (OR = 0.43; 95% CI: 0.21-0.85). There was a protective trend against glaucoma in those consuming more fruit/fruit juices (P = .023), fresh oranges (P = .002), fresh peaches (P = .002), and collard greens/kale (P = .014). Higher consumption of carrots (P = .061) and spinach (P = .094) also showed some associations. Individual nutrient intake from food sources found protective trends with higher intakes of vitamin A (P = .011), vitamin C (P = .018), and α-carotene (P = .021), and close to statistically significant trends with β-carotene (P = .052), folate (P = .056), and lutein/zeaxanthin (P = .077).

Conclusion: Higher intake of certain fruits and vegetables high in vitamins A and C and carotenoids may be associated with a decreased likelihood of glaucoma in older African-American women. Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine whether the intake of specific nutrients changes the risk of glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Black or African American / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / ethnology*
  • Fruit*
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis
  • Glaucoma / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vegetables*
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Women's Health


  • Antioxidants