Regular use of the vitamins E and C, a new study has revealed, has little or no effect on age-related cataract in men.
William G. Christen from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues studied 11,545 apparently healthy male physicians 50 years and older.
There were 579 cataracts in the vitamin E treatment group and 595 cataracts in the placebo group. Analyses of the effects of vitamin E on cataract subtypes indicated no significant effects of the treatment on nuclear, cortical or posterior subcapsular cataract.
In the vitamin C segment, there were 593 cataracts in the group receiving treatment and 581 in the placebo group. Similar non-significant findings were observed for each of the three cataract subtypes.
Additionally, the authors found that "the effect of vitamin C on cataract and extraction [removal] did not differ appreciably within categories of known or possible risk factors, other than a possible, but statistically non-significant trend toward increased risk in those with a reported history of cardiovascular disease."
"In summary, these randomized trial data from a large population of middle-aged and older, generally well-nourished men indicate that long-term supplementation with high-dose vitamin E and vitamin C, either alone or in combination, has little effect on rates of cataract diagnosis and extraction."
The study is reported in the November issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.