Vegetarian Diet Linked to Lower Cataract Risk
A vegetarian diet may be associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, included 27,670 self-reported, nondiabetic participants aged 40 years or older. The investigators administered a dietary survey to all patients between 1993 and 1999 and then used medical records to determine cataract development. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess cataract risk in relation to baseline dietary and lifestyle characteristics.
Overall, there was a strong relation between cataract risk and diet group, with a progressive decrease in risk of cataract in high meat eaters to low meat eaters, fish eaters (participants who ate fish but not meat), vegetarians, and vegans. Compared with high meat eaters (100 grams or more of meat daily), the incidence rate ratios for moderate meat eaters (50 to 99 grams of meat daily), low meat eaters (less than 50 grams of meat daily), fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans were 0.96, 0.85, 0.79, 0.70, and 0.60, respectively (95% confidence interval; P < .001). Associations between cataract risk and the intake of selected nutrients and foods generally reflected the strong association with diet group, the researchers concluded.
1.    Appleby PN, Allen NE, Key TJ. Diet, vegetarianism, and cataract risk [published online ahead of print March 23, 2011]. Am J Clin Nutr. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.004028.