Ascorbic acid concentrations in aqueous humor after systemic vitamin C supplementation in patients with cataract: pilot study

BMC Ophthalmol. 2017 Jul 11;17(1):121. doi: 10.1186/s12886-017-0515-2.


Background: To measure ascorbic acid concentration in aqueous humor of patients with cataract after oral or intravenous vitamin C supplementation.

Methods: Forty-two eyes of 42 patients with senile cataract who underwent uncomplicated cataract surgery were enrolled. Patients (n = 14 each) were administered oral vitamin C (2 g), intravenous vitamin C (20 g) or no treatment (control group) on the day before surgery. Samples of aqueous humor (0.1 cm3) were obtained by anterior chamber aspiration at the beginning of surgery and stored at -80 °C. Ascorbic acid concentration in aqueous humor was measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography.

Results: The mean age at surgery was 62.5 years, with no difference among the three groups. The mean ± standard deviation concentrations of ascorbic acid in aqueous humor in the control and oral and intravenous vitamin C groups were 1347 ± 331 μmol/L, 1859 ± 408 μmol/L and 2387 ± 445 μmol/L, respectively. Ascorbic acid concentration was significantly lower in the control than in the oral (P < 0.01) and intravenous (P < 0.001) vitamin C groups and was significantly higher in the intravenous than in the oral vitamin C group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Ascorbic acid concentration in aqueous humor is increased by systemic vitamin C supplementation, with intravenous administration being more effective than oral administration.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Aqueous humor; Ascorbic acid; Cataract; Vitamin C.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Aqueous Humor / chemistry*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cataract / diet therapy*
  • Cataract / metabolism
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Ascorbic Acid