Association of vitamin A and β-carotene with risk for age-related cataract: a meta-analysis

Nutrition. 2014 Oct;30(10):1113-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.02.025. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Objective: Whether vitamin A and β-carotene as nutrients are protective factors against cataracts remains unclear. Thus, the aim of this study was to summarize the evidence from epidemiologic studies of vitamin A and β-carotene with the risk for cataract.

Methods: Pertinent studies were identified by a search of PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Wan Fang Med Online. A fixed- or random-effects model was used based on heterogeneity test. Meta-regression and "leave-one-out" analysis were used to explore potential sources of between-study heterogeneity. Publication bias was estimated using Egger's regression asymmetry test.

Results: Twenty-two articles were included in this meta-analysis. The relative risk (RR; 95% confidence interval [CI]) for cataract for the highest versus lowest category of serum β-carotene levels was 0.827 (95% CI, 0.736-0.930), and the association was significant between β-carotene intake and cataract risk (RR, 0.937; 95% CI, 0.880-0.997). Significant association of cataract risk with vitamin A intake was found overall (RR, 0.831; 95% CI, 0.757-0.913). However, no significant association was found between serum vitamin A and cataract risk (RR, 0.925; 95% CI, 0.675-1.266; I(2) = 63.1%), but an inverse association was observed with risk for cataract with serum vitamin A after sensitivity analysis (RR, 0.765; 95% CI, 0.654-0.894; I(2) = 29.1%).

Conclusions: Greater vitamin A and β-carotene intakes might be inversely associated with risk for cataract.

Keywords: Cataract; Meta-analysis; Vitamin A; β-carotene.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants* / administration & dosage
  • Cataract* / etiology
  • Cataract* / prevention & control
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Risk
  • Vitamin A* / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin A* / blood
  • Vitamins* / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins* / blood
  • beta Carotene* / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene* / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A