Vitamin E has no role in cataract prevention

May 12, 2008

Vitamin E supplements do not help to prevent cataract, according to a study published in the May 2008 issue of Ophthalmology.

Vitamin E supplements do not help to prevent cataract, according to a study published in the May 2008 issue of Ophthalmology.

William G. Christen, ScD of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, US and colleagues analyzed data from the Women's Health Study (WHS), an ongoing, 10-year randomized controlled study evaluating the effects of vitamin E and low-dose aspirin in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer in apparently healthy women.

Professional women aged ≥45 years at baseline (n=39,876) took 100 mg of aspirin daily and 600 IU of vitamin E every other day for up to six and a half years. Health, lifestyle and cataract history of the women was also noted. Women taking the vitamin E supplements were found to have rates of cataract development comparable to women who did not take supplements, even amongst those women (smokers, diabetic) who would have been expected to respond well to antioxidant vitamin treatment.

Dr Christen concluded that, at least in the short-term, vitamin E supplements have no role in cataract prevention.