Vitamin C and the Lens: New Insights into Delaying the Onset of Cataract.
Cataracts or clouding of the lens is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Age and diabetes are major risk factors, and with an increasing aging and diabetic population, the burden of cataracts will grow. Cataract surgery is an effective way to restore vision; however, alternatives to cataract surgery are required to reduce the looming cataract epidemic. Since it is well established that oxidative damage plays a major role in the etiology of cataracts, antioxidants have been promoted as therapies to delay and/or prevent cataracts. However, many antioxidant interventions including vitamin C have produced mixed results as anti-cataract therapies. Progress has been made towards our understanding of lens physiology and the mechanisms involved in the delivery and uptake of antioxidants to the lens which may guide future studies aimed at addressing some of the inconsistencies seen in previous animal and human studies. Of interest is the potential for vitamin C based supplements in delaying the onset of cataracts post vitrectomy which occurs in up to 80% of patients within two years. These targeted approaches are required to reduce the burden of cataract on hospitals and improve the quality of life of our aging and diabetic population.
Nutrients. 2020 Oct 14;12(10):3142. doi: 10.3390/nu12103142. PMID: 33066702; PMCID: PMC7602486.