Background: Observational studies have been inconsistent regarding the association between blood antioxidants or vitamins and risk of age-related cataract.
Objective: We performed a meta-analysis to determine whether an association exists between blood levels of antioxidants or vitamins and age-related cataract in observational studies.
Design: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Web of Science for relevant studies from inception to October 2012. Study-specific risk estimates were combined by using a random-effects model.
Results: A total of 13 studies with 18,999 participants were involved in this meta-analysis. A pooled estimate showed vitamin E (OR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.58, 0.96), α-carotene (OR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.59, 0.88), lutein (OR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.65, 0.87), and zeaxanthin (OR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.82) were inversely associated with age-related cataract. Vitamins A (OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.58, 0.83) and C (OR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.78) were inversely associated with age-related cataract in Asian populations but not in Western populations. β-Carotene (OR: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.78, 1.05), lycopene (OR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.15), and β-cryptoxanthin (OR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.68, 1.02) had no significant association with risk of cataract.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis provides additional evidence supporting the view that blood levels of certain antioxidants are inversely associated with risk of age-related cataract. However, the role of antioxidant or vitamin supplement intake in preventing cataract should be further investigated in interventional studies.