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Dietary vitamin C delays cataract progression.

A diet rich in citrus fruit and leafy greens could delay cataract progression by up to a third, a new study from King's College London has concluded.

Vitamin C is found in high concentrations in the aqueous humour and is believed to protect the eye against the damaging effects of oxidation.

Tracking 324 pairs of identical and fraternal twins over 10 years, the research concluded that environmental factors such as diet contributed to 65% of the differences seen in cataract progression, while genetic factors contributed 32%.

However, vitamin C that was consumed in supplements did not have the same protective effect as that received through vitamin-rich foods, the paper published in Ophthalmology noted.

Lead researcher, Professor Chris Hammond, told OT that the difference between the effects of dietary and supplementary vitamin C on cataracts was noteworthy.

He recommended that optometrists promote vitamin C consumption to their older patients, especially those who were showing misting and other early signs of cataracts. "There is something we can do. We can slow it down," he explained.

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Optometrists need to make sure that any messages they gave their patients about ascorbic acid stressed that the benefits for cataracts would not come from supplements, but in a healthy, balanced diet rich in the vitamin, said Professor Hammond.

"For good health, a good diet is a very important thing. We've been able to show that it makes it less likely for cataracts to develop and progress and less likely for age-related macular degeneration to develop--two very good reasons, in addition to the benefits against colon cancer and other [nonocular] diseases," he emphasised.

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Title Annotation:CLINICAL ROUND-UP: OT's Olivia Wannan reviews the latest clinical news and research papers
Author:Wannan, Olivia
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2016
Words:268
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