Move Over Vitamin A, There's Another Common Vitamin That's Better For Your Eyesight
Vitamin A has always been associated with good eyesight. Now, new research is giving attention to a different vitamin for eyesight – a common one that everyone knows about – vitamin C. Turns out, vitamin C is not just for helping keep colds and flu away, it may also be beneficial in preventing and treating cataracts.
Cataracts are obstructions in the eye that cause the lens to become cloudy and blurry. They occur naturally with age. While they can be removed surgically, they are a lead cause of blindness.
In the study, which was published online in the journal Ophthalmology on March 23, researchers looked at data of over 1,000 pairs of British female twins in their sixties. What they found was that those who consumed high amounts of dietary vitamin C had a lowered risk of cataracts by over one-third than those who did not. This data was pooled over 10 years.
Interestingly, vitamin C from supplements did not appear to reduce the cataract risk at all. Vitamin C intake from food was key here. This sparks some interesting thoughts about how effective supplements truly are.
The team, led by Dr. Christopher Hammond, have come to the conclusion that our genetics account for around 35% of cataract progression risk, while the other 65% of the risk may be influenced by diet and other environmental factors. This is huge and is the first study to show that our diet and lifestyle plays a bigger role in cataract development than genetics.
The researchers do caution that this study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin C and cataract progression, it only showed strong associations.
In a news release, Dr. Hammond said,
While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C
The working theory is that fluid in your eye is normally high in vitamin C, as it is a strong antioxidant and functions to prevent oxidation that leads to clouding of the lens. So if you have a high count of vitamin C in your diet, you could ensure that your eyes receive plenty of that antioxidant, providing extra defense against cataract formation.
So, if you’re at all worried about your eyesight, you should take heart at this news and focus eating foods that are rich in vitamin C, basically, most fresh, raw produce.