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Nutritional effect on age-related cataract formation and progression

Sella, Ruti; Afshari, Natalie A.

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: January 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 63–69
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000537

Purpose of review To provide a comprehensive summary of the latest evidence-based data on nutrients linked to the pathogenesis of cataract formation and progression.

Recent findings This summary of peer-reviewed publications emphasizes the ongoing effort to modulate the cataractogenous process through nutrition, and points at an only weak evidence for the contribution of a specific nutrient to this process. Although observational studies successfully demonstrated a positive correlation between specific nutrients intake and age-related cataract, such evidence was usually lacking in following interventional studies. Three metanalyses point towards a beneficial effect of high intake of vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A on the risk of age-related cataract. New studies point at a protective effect of a high intake of vitamin K1 and vitamin D but negate the influence of Mediterranean diet or an overall high dairy consumption on the progression of cataract in a subgroup of patients. Sterols are candidate nutrients for future investigation.

Summary Nutrition rich in fruits and vegetables, and a high dietary intake of vitamins A, C, D, E and K1 may be inversely associated with the risk of age-related cataract. More studies involving patients in a wide range of nutritional status are required to establish the long-term benefit of nutritional supplements.

Department of Ophthalmology, Shiley Eye Institute, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA

Correspondence to Natalie A. Afshari, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Shiley Eye Institute, University of California San Diego, 9415 Campus Point Dr #0946, La Jolla, CA 92093-0946, USA. Tel: +1 858 822 1569; fax: +1 858 822 1514; e-mail:

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