Association of vitamin C with the risk of age-related cataract: a meta-analysis

Acta Ophthalmol. 2016 May;94(3):e170-6. doi: 10.1111/aos.12688. Epub 2015 Mar 4.


Purpose: Whether vitamin C is a protective factor for age-related cataract remains unclear. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from epidemiological studies of vitamin C and the risk of age-related cataract.

Methods: Pertinent studies were identified by searching in PubMed and in Webscience. The random effect model was used to combine the results. Meta-regression and subgroups analyses were used to explore potential sources of between-study heterogeneity. Publication bias was estimated using Egger's regression asymmetry test.

Results: Finally, 15 articles with 20 studies for vitamin C intake and eight articles with 10 studies for serum ascorbate were included in this meta-analysis. The relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval of cataract for the highest versus the lowest category of vitamin C intake was 0.814 (0.707-0.938), and the associations were significant in America and Asia. Significant association of cataract risk with highest versus the lowest category of serum ascorbate was found in general [0.704 (0.564-0.879)]. Inverse associations were also found between serum ascorbate and nuclear cataract and posterior subcapsular cataract.

Conclusions: Higher vitamin C intake and serum ascorbate might be inversely associated with risk of cataract. Vitamin C intake should be advocated for the primary prevention of cataract.

Keywords: age-related cataract; meta-analysis; serum ascorbate; vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamins / blood*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • Ascorbic Acid