Could Vitamins C and E INCREASE the Risk of Cataracts?

April 3, 2013 | All Posts, Cataract Healing, Cataract Surgery, Cataract Treatment

It has been pretty well established over the last two decades that antioxidants – such as vitamins C and E – can play a significant role in maintaining eye health and reducing the risk of cataracts.

I’ve written about it many times on this site. (Enter the terms vitamin C and vitamin E in the Search Box to the right to read some of the earlier posts.)

It’s why I encourage people to not only eat right, but to also add to their diet supplements that deliver nutrients to the eyes that exceed what you can get from food alone.

Then comes this Swedish study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that contradicts what nearly everyone else believes to be so.

Researchers in Sweden at the Karolinska Instituet examined 24,593 women between the ages of 49 and 83 years old and reported that those who regularly took vitamin C supplements had a 20 percent greater chance of developing cataracts.

For women who also took vitamin E, the risk increased to a 60 percent chance.

Some women reported taking as much as 1,000 milligrams per serving; some a multivitamin with only 60 milligrams of vitamin C.

How could this be?

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a lot of discussion among vision researchers, or even any head scratching, in an attempt to reconcile the conflict between this study and the established research.

It might be one thing if the research showed no connection between these anti-oxidants and a reduced risk of cataracts.

But, to show a negative connection – that’s another story!

As of now, there are no answers, only questions. Here are some:

Can we trust that what vitamins the subjects said they took accurately reflects what they actually did take?

Is there something different about a woman’s body and eyes? (Remember, this study’s subjects were all women.)

Which subjects took a combination of different supplements? Which took only vitamins C and E? Who took higher amounts? Who took lesser amounts? Did these sub-groups show different outcomes?

These are some of the questions I’d like to see answered.

Reply to this post with any questions that this study raises for you.

In the meantime, I’ll still be encouraging people to make sure they supplement with these two important antioxidants.

But I’d never recommend that anyone take just these two vitamins by themselves. They should be only two of the many nutrients that promote the health of all of the parts of the eyes and body.

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Comments (3)


  1. Neda says:

    Because of extremly high cholesterol values I am taking believing in Linus Pauling theory, for more than 20 years already 1500 mg of Vit C and about 400 I.E. of Vit. E every day.
    My age 74 years. At good light conditions I can read without glasses. Several years ago instead of a preparation with lutein I started consuming every day one slightly boiled egg (cracked in boiling slightly salted water and boiled for 3-5 minutes). Besides, I started eating a handfull of bluebaries almost every day and green peas from time to time.
    Nobody believes me that my vision is in such an admirable condition for my 74 years.
    Thank you for your attention

  2. Rene says:

    I have been taking a vitamin supplement cocktail (including lutein) for years (7 or 8). I also have been diagnosed with AMD and now recently with cataracts. I take 500mg Vitamin C per day in addition of a multi-vitamin-mineral additive.

    I have always believed that the excessive Vit C would flush away. Should I stop taking the Vit C?

    BTW, Martin, please ask your website designer to do something about the poor contrast on this blog: Since your customers mostly have poor eyesight, it would help to use more visible, contrasting colours .

    • Marty says:

      500 mg of vitamin C is not excessive; Nor would 3-4 times that amount. As you say, the body flushes out what it doesn’t use.

      Remember how vitally important it is to get enough water each and every day. It’s extra important when you’re taking supplements so that your body flushes out the toxins that need to be released for optimal health.

      Take a look at the EYEMAX-plus formula and compare it to what you’ve been taken. Which is more comprehensive, with higher dosage levels?

      We are working on a re-design of the site.

      How do your eyes respond to one of our sister sites devoted to Macular degeneration:

      We’ll be re-designing this site along those lines.

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