Glaucoma and vitamins A, C, and E supplement intake and serum levels in a population-based sample of the United States

Eye (Lond). 2013 Apr;27(4):487-94. doi: 10.1038/eye.2013.10. Epub 2013 Feb 22.


Purpose: To investigate the potential association between glaucoma prevalence and supplemental intake, as well as serum levels of vitamins A, C and E.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 2912 participants in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, age ≥40 years, who self-reported a presence or absence of glaucoma. Participants were interviewed regarding the use of dietary supplements during the preceding 30-day period. Participants also underwent serum measurements of vitamins A, C, and E (both alpha- and gamma-tocopherol). Information on the primary outcome measure, presence or absence of glaucoma, as well as demographic information, comorbidities and health-related behaviors, was assessed via interview.

Results: Multivariate odds ratios for self-reported glaucoma, comparing the highest quartile of consumption to no consumption, and adjusted for potential confounding variables were 0.48 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13-1.82) for vitamin A, 0.47 (95% CI 0.23-0.97) for vitamin C, and 2.59 (95% CI 0.89-7.56) for vitamin E. Adjusted odds ratios for self-reported glaucoma comparing the highest vs lowest quintiles of vitamin serum levels were 1.44 (95% CI 0.79-2.62) for vitamin A, 0.94 (95% CI 0.42-2.11) for vitamin C, 1.40 (95% CI 0.70-2.81) for alpha-tocopherol, and 0.64 (95% CI 0.24-1.70) for gamma-tocopherol.

Conclusion: Neither supplementary consumption with nor serum levels of vitamins A and E were found to be associated with glaucoma prevalence. While low- and high-dose supplementary consumption of vitamin C was found to be associated with decreased odds of glaucoma, serum levels of vitamin C did not correlate with glaucoma prevalence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / blood
  • Glaucoma / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid