Nutritional modulation of cataract

Nutr Rev. 2014 Jan;72(1):30-47. doi: 10.1111/nure.12077. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


Lens opacification or cataract reduces vision in over 80 million people worldwide and blinds 18 million. These numbers will increase dramatically as both the size of the elderly demographic and the number of those with carbohydrate metabolism-related problems increase. Preventative measures for cataract are critical because the availability of cataract surgery in much of the world is insufficient. Epidemiologic literature suggests that the risk of cataract can be diminished by diets that are optimized for vitamin C, lutein/zeaxanthin, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, multivitamins, and carbohydrates: recommended levels of micronutrients are salutary. The limited data from intervention trials provide some support for observational studies with regard to nuclear - but not other types of - cataracts. Presented here are the beneficial levels of nutrients in diets or blood and the total number of participants surveyed in epidemiologic studies since a previous review in 2007.

Keywords: aging; carbohydrate; carotenoids; cataract; eye; glycation; glycemic index; lens; omega fats; vitamins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Micronutrients / metabolism
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Micronutrients
  • Ascorbic Acid