Antioxidant Status and Risk for Cataract

  • Allen Taylor
  • Paul F. Jacques
Part of the Nutrition ◊ and ◊ Health book series (NH)


Although the number of associations between nutriture and age-related eye diseases have burgeoned in the last decade, early studies regarding antioxidant properties of nutrients were performed virtually immediately after the discovery of ascorbate in the early part of the century. Studies regarding the etiology of cataract now include laboratory and epidemiological investigations. This chapter briefly reviews available data, as well as intervention trials, regarding associations between antioxidant nutrients and eye lens cataract in humans. Readers can refer to other recent reviews (1–4) for more thorough treatments, particularly with respect to animal studies. Much of the rich body of pioneering work is, of necessity, given limited coverage here (5–7).


Cataract Surgery Plasma Vitamin Posterior Subcapsular Cataract Nuclear Cataract Prevalence Odds Ratio 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Taylor A, Jacques PF, Dorey CK. Oxidation and aging: impact on vision. J Toxicol Indust Health 1993; 9:349–371.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bunce GE, Kinoshita J, Horwitz J. Nutritional factors in cataract. Ann Rev Nutr 1990; 10:233–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jacques PF, Chylack LT Jr, Taylor A. Relationships between natural antioxidants and cataract formation. In: Natural Antioxidants in Human Health and Disease. Frei B, ed. Orlando: Academic Press, 1994; 513–533.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Taylor A. Vitamin C. In: Nutrition in the Elderly: The Boston Nutritional Status Survey. Hartz SC, Russell M, Rosenberg, IH, eds. London: Smith Gordon Limited, 1992; 147–50.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    TaylorA. Cataract: relationships between nutrition and oxidation. JAm Coll Nutr 1993; 12:138–146.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Blondin J, Taylor A. Measures of leucine aminopeptidase can be used to anticipate UV-induced age-related damage to lens proteins: ascorbate can delay this damage. Mech Aging Dev 1987; 41:39–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Blondin J, Baragi VJ, Schwartz E, Sadowski J, Taylor A. Delay of UV-induced eye lens protein damage in guinea pigs by dietary ascorbate. Free Radic Biol Med 1986; 2:275–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jacques PF, Taylor A. Micronutrients and age-related cataracts. In: Micronutrients in Health and in Disease Prevention. Bendich A, Butterworth CE, eds. New York: Marcel Dekker Inc, 1991; 359–379.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kupfer C. The conquest of cataract: a global challenge. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK 1984; 104:1–10.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schwab L. Cataract blindness in developing nations. Intemat Ophthalmol Clinics 1990; 30:16–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    World Health Organization. Use of intraocular lenses in cataract surgery in developing countries. Bull WHO 1991; 69:657–666.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Klein BEK, Klein R, Linton KLP. Prevalence of age-related lens opacities in a population: the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Ophthalmology 1992; 99:546–552.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Klein R, Klein BE, Linton KL, DeMets DL. The Beaver Dam Eye Study: the relation of age-related maculopathy to smoking. Am J Epidemiol 1993; 137:190–200.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Leibowitz H, Krueger D, Maunder C, et al. The Framingham Eye Study Monograph. Surv Ophthalmol (Suppl), 1980; 24:335–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chatterjee A, Milton RC, Thyle S. Prevalence and etiology of cataract in Punjab. Br J Ophthalmol 1982; 66:35–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wang G-M, Spector A, Luo C-Q, et al. Prevalence of age-related cataract in Ganzi and Shanghai. The Epidemiological Study Group. Chin Med J 1990; 103:945–951.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Whitfield R, Schwab L, Ross-Degnan D, Steinkuller P, Swartwood J. Blindness and eye disease in Kenya: ocular status survey results from the Kenya Rural Blindness Prevention Project. Br J Ophthalmol 1990; 74:333–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chan CW, Billson FA. Visual disability and major causes of blindness in NSW: a study of people aged 50 and over attending the Royal Blind Society 1984 to 1989. Aust NZ J Ophthalmol 1991; 19:321–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dana MR, Tielsch JM, Enger C, Joyce E, Santoli JM, Taylor HR. Visual impairment in a rural Appalachian community: prevalence and causes. JAMA 1990; 264:2400–2405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Salive ME, Guralnik J, Christian W, Glynn RJ, Colsher P, Ostfeld AM. Functional blindness and visual impairment in older adults from three communities. Ophthalmology 1992; 99:1840–1847.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wormald RPL, Wright LA, Courtney P, Beaumont B, Haines AP. Visual problems in the elderly population and implications for services. Br Med J 1992; 304:1226–1229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Berger J, Shepard D, Morrow F, Taylor A. Relationship between dietary intake and tissue levels of reduced and total vitamin C in the guinea pig. J Nutr 1989; 119:1–7.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Seddon JM, Christen WG, Manson JE, et al. The use of vitamin supplements and the risk of cataract among US male physicians. Am J Public Health 1994; 84:788–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chylack LT Jr, Wolfe JK, Singer DM, et al. The lens opacities classification system III. Arch Ophthalmol 1993; 111:831–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Chylack LT Jr, Wolfe JK, Friend J, Singer DM, Wu SY, Leske MC. Nuclear cataract: relative contributions to vision loss of opalescence and brunescence. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1994; 35:4,2632 (Abstract).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Wolfe JK, Chylack LT Jr, Leske MC, Wu SY, LSC Group. Lens nuclear color and visual function. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1993; 34:4,2550 (Abstract).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jacques PF, Chylack LT Jr. Epidemiologic evidence of a role for the antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids in cataract prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53:352S–355S.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Berman ER. Biochemistry of the eye. New York: Plenum, 1991; 210–308.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Schectman G, Byrd JC, Gruchow HW. The influence of smoking on vitamin C status in adults. Am J Health 1989; 79:158–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zigman S. Effects of near ultraviolet radiation on the lens and retina. Doc Ophthalmol 1983; 55:375–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Brilliant LB, Grasset NC, Pokhrel RP, et al. Associations among cataract prevalence, sunlight hours, and altitude in the Himalayas. Am J Epidemiol 1983; 118:250–264.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Christen WG, Manson JE, Seddon JM, et al. A prospective study of cigarette smoking and risk of cataract in men. JAMA 1992; 268:989–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hankinson SE, Willett WC, Colditz GA, et al. A prospective study of cigarette smoking and risk of cataract surgery in women. JAMA 1992; 268:994–998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Taylor HR, West SK, Rosenthal FS, et al. Effect of ultraviolet radiation on cataract formation. New Engl J Med 1988; 319:1429–1433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    West SK, Munoz B, Emmett EA, Taylor HR. Cigarette smoking and risk of nuclear cataracts. Arch Ophthalmol 1989; 107:1166–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    West S. Does smoke get in your eyes? JAMA 1992; 268:1025–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Zigman S, Datiles M, Torczynski E. Sunlight and human cataract. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1979; 18:462–467.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Wong L, Ho SC, Coggon D, Cruddas AM, et al. J Epidemiol Commun Health 1993; 47:46–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Russell-Briefel R, Bates MW, Kuller LH. The relationship of plasma carotenoids to health and biochemical factors in middle-aged men. Am J Epidemiol 1985; 122:741–749.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Klein BEK, Klein R, Palta M, Bowen P, Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1995; 36:276–288.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Robertson JMcD, Donner AP, Trevithick JR. Vitamin E intake and risk for cataracts in humans. Ann NY Acad Sci 1989; 570:372–382.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Leske MC, Chylack LT Jr, Wu S. The lens opacities case-control study risk factors for cataract. Arch Ophthalmol 1991; 109:244–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Mares-Perlman JA, Klein BEK, Klein R, Ritter LL. Relationship between lens opacities and vitamin and mineral supplement use. Ophthalmology 1994; 101:315–325.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Mohan M, Sperduto RD, Angra SK, et al. India-US case-control study of age-related cataracts. Arch Ophthalmol 1989; 107:670–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hankinson SE, Stampfer MJ, Seddon JM, et al. Nutrient intake and cataract extraction in women: a prospective study. Br Med J 1992; 305:335–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Vitale S, West S, Hallfrisch J, et al. Plasma antioxidants and risk of cortical and nuclear cataract. Epidemiology 1994; 4:195–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Fridovich I. Oxygen: aspects of its toxicity and elements of defense. Curr Eye Res 1984; 3:1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Giblin FJ, McReady JP, Reddy VN. The role of glutathione metabolism in detoxification of H2O2 in rabbit lens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1992; 22:330–335.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Rathbun WB, Holleschau AM, Murray DL, Buchanan A, Sawaguchi S, Tao RV. Glutathione synthesis and glutathione redox pathways in naphthalene cataract in the rat. Curr Eye Res 1990; 9:45–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Varma SD, Chand O, Sharma YR, Kuck JF, Richards KD. Oxidative stress on lens and cataract formation. Role of light and oxygen. Curr Eye Res 1984; 3:35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Zigler JS, Goosey JD. Singlet oxygen as a possible factor in human senile nuclear cataract development. Curr Eye Res 1984; 3:59–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Berger J, Shepard D, Morrow F, Sadowski J, Haire T, Taylor A. Reduced and total ascorbate in guinea pig eye tissues in response to dietary intake. Curr Eye Res 1988; 7:681–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Shang F, Taylor A. Oxidative stress and recovery from oxidative stress are associated with altered ubiquitin conjugating and proteolytic activities in bovine lens epithelial cells. Biochem J 1995; 307:297–303.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Huang LL, Jahngen-Hodge J, Taylor A. Bovine lens epithelial cells have a ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis system. Biochem Biophys Acta 1993; 1175:181–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Jahngen-Hodge J, Laxman E, Zuliani A, Taylor A. Evidence for ATP ubiquitin-dependent degradation of proteins in cultured bovine lens epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res 1991; 52:341–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Jahngen-Hodge J, Cyr D, Laxman E, Taylor A. Ubiquitin and ubiquitin conjugates in human lens. Exp Eye Res 1992; 55:897–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Obin MS, Nowell T, Taylor A. The photoreceptor G-protein transducin (GO is a substrate for ubiquitin-de-pendent proteolysis. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 1994; 200:1169–1176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Taylor A, Davies KJA. Protein oxidation and loss of protease activity may lead to cataract formation in the aged lens. Free Radic Biol Med 1987; 3:371–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Jacques PF, Lahav M, Willett WC, Taylor A. Relationship between long-term vitamin C intake and prevalence of cataract and macular degeneration. Exp Eye Res (Suppl. 1)1992; 55:S152 (Abstract).Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Knekt P, Heliovaara M, Rissanen A, Aromaa A, Aaran R. Serum antioxidant vitamins and risk of cataract. Br Med J 1992; 305:1392–1394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    The Italian-American Cataract Study Group. Risk factors for age-related cortical, nuclear, and posterior subcapsular cataracts. Am J Epidemiol 1991; 133:541–553.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Taylor A, Jacques P, Lahav M, Hankinson S, Lee Y, Willett W. Relationship between long-term dietary and supplement ascorbate intake and risk of cataract. Exp Eye Res Suppl 1 1994; 59:S133 (Abstract).Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Frei B, Stocker R, Ames BN. Antioxidant defenses and lipid peroxidation in human blood plasma. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1988; 85:9748–9752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Levine M. New concepts in the biology and biochemistry of ascorbic acid. New Engl J Med 1986; 314:892–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Taylor A, Jacques PF, Nadler D, Morrow F, Sulsky SI, Shepard D. Relationship in humans between ascorbic acid consumption and levels of total and reduced ascorbic acid in lens, aqueous humor, and plasma. Curr Eye Res 1991;10:751–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Garland DD. Ascorbic acid and the eye. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 54:1198S–1202S.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Naraj RM, Monnier VM. Isolation and characterization of a blue fluorophore from human eye lens crystallins: in vitro formation from Maillard reaction with ascorbate and ribose. Biochem Biophys Acta 1992; 1116:34–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Machlin LJ, Bendich A. Free radical tissue damage: protective role of antioxidant nutrients. FASEB J 1987; 1:441–445.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Libondi T, Menzione M, Auricchio G. In vitro effect of alpha-tocopherol on lysophosphatidylcholine-in-duced lens damage. Exp Eye Res 1985; 40:661–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Costagliola C, Iuliano G, Menzione M, Rinaldi E, Vito P, Auricchio G. Effect of vitamin E on glutathione content in red blood cells, aqueous humor and lens of humans and other species. Exp Eye Res 1986; 43:905–914.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Organisciak DT, Berman ER, Wang H, Feeney-Burns L. Vitamin E in human neural retina and retinal pigment epithelium: effect of age. Curr Eye Res 1987; 6:1051–1055.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Organisciak DT, Feeney-Burns L, Bridges CD. On the measurement of vitamin E in human ocular tissues (letter). Curr Eye Res 1987; 6:1487–1488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Burton W, Ingold KU. Beta-carotene: an unusual type of lipid antioxidant. Science 1984; 224:569–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Kwan M, Niinikoski J, Hunt TK. In vivo measurement of oxygen tension in the cornea, aqueous humor, and the anterior lens of the open eye. Invest Ophthalmol 1972; 11:108–114.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Erdman J. The physiologic chemistry of carotenes in man. Clin Nutr 1988; 7:101–106.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Di Mascio P, Murphy ME, Sies H. Antioxidant defense systems: the role of carotenoids, tocopherols and thiols. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53:194S–200S.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Krinsky NI, Deneke SS. Interaction of oxygen and oxy-radicals with carotenoids. J Natl Cancer Inst 1982; 69:205–210.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Micozzi MS, Beecher GR, Taylor PR, Khachik F Carotenoid analyses of selected raw and cooked foods associated with a lower risk for cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 1990; 82:282–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Daicker B, Schiedt K, Adnet JJ, Bermond P. Canthaxamin retinopathy. An investigation by light and electron microscopy and physiochemical analyses. Graefe’s Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 1987; 225:189–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Yeum K-J, Taylor A, Tang G, Russell RM. Measurement of carotenoids, retinoids, and tocopherols in human lenses. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1995; 36:2756–2761.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Sperduto RD, Hu T-S, Milton, RC, et al. The Linxian Cataract Studies: Two nutrition intervention trials. Arch Ophthalmol 1993; 111:1246–1253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Burton GW, Wronska U, Stone L, Foster DO, Ingold KU. Biokinetics of dietary RRR-α-tocopherol in the male guinea pig at three dietary levels of vitamin C and two levels of vitamin E. Evidence that vitamin C does not “spare” vitamin E in vivo. Lipids 1990; 25:199–210.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Meister A. Glutathione-ascorbic acid antioxidant system in animals. J Biol Chem 1994; 269:9397–9400.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Wefers H, Sies H. The protection by ascorbate and glutathione against microsomal lipid peroxidation is dependent on vitamin E. FEBS Lett. 1988; 174:353–357.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen Taylor
  • Paul F. Jacques

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations