A cataract is loss of transparency of the crystalline lens inside the eye. The most common type of cataract is called nuclear sclerosis – yellowing and hardening of the innermost portion of the lens (the nucleus).
Besides providing near focusing power (accommodation), the crystalline lens is also a vital filter that blocks hazardous infrared and ultraviolet light from damaging the sensitive retina. This protection occurs throughout life. How well would your car run if you never changed your oil filter? Well, after 60 or 70 years the lens is toast! It has accumulated so much chemical waste from filtering dangerous light rays (urochrome pigments) that the lens turns yellow-amber in color.
A new report in the peer-reviewed journal Ophthalmology now claims that daily multivitamins can delay the onset of cataracts. AREDS stands for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study – the folks who looked at vitamins and cataracts. 4,500 volunteers took a daily Centrum multivitamin for 6 years. When compared to the general population, this group developed cataracts later in life and cataract progression was significantly slower.
The researchers conclude that use of a daily multivitamin may delay the progression of lens opacities. A National Eye Institute–sponsored clinical trial scheduled for completion in 2007 will provide additional data on Centrum use and cataract development.
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Lloyd has no financial interest in any vitamin manufacturer. Dr. Lloyd eats lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.