Low Vitamin C and Elevated Risk of Cataract in the Elderly

Eye issues in the elderly

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the many naturally occurring Vitamins that is soluble in water and thus hypervitaminosis (or toxicity) of Vitamin C is very uncommon. This is because the excess amounts of Vitamin C are excreted by the body via urine.

Vitamin C is needed for fresh looking healthy skin and non-bleeding gums. The benefits of vitamin C are numerous but recently conducted research trials have declared a preventive role of Vitamin C in the development of cataract.

Vitamin C prevents the signs of ageing within the body by ensuring optimal blood supply to all the tissues and by preventing anti-oxidant damage that are most likely associated with the pathogenesis of cataract formation. Click here for the best ways of getting vitamin C.

What are the causes of vitamin C in elderly?

The primary cause of vitamin C deficiency in the elderly is a progressive decline in the quality of nutrition that increases the risk of several health issues; one of which is cataract.

Cataract is an ophthalmologic condition marked by progressive clouding of the lens that interferes with the quality of vision and also leads to macular degeneration in advanced stages. Macular degeneration due to ageing is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly (55 years and above) in America, Australia and the UK.

The only way to remove Cataracts is through eye-surgery. Find out more.

The risk of deficiency is directly related to the socio-economic status (as discussed by a clinical trial report submitted in American Academy of Ophthalmology, after a study conducted in over 5000 elderly individuals in India.

The study concluded that low vitamin C levels are a significant risk factor for cataract and other visual problems and the deficiency is more pronounced in elderly since 75% of the study participants were Vitamin C deficient. Why is Vitamin C beneficial?

According to the test results, individuals with higher blood levels of vitamin C were generally in good shape and overall health as compared to those who have low Vitamin C levels.

What are the eye issues that come about through ageing?

What causes cataract in Vitamin C depleted elderly?

Visual apparatus is not just an essential part of the body but is also exposed to a lot of physical damage from the environment.

Light from the environment helps in vision but it also exposes the delicate visual tissue to harmful sun-rays that greatly increases the risk of oxidative and radiation induced damage to lens and retina.

As a part of ageing process, the ability of the body to fight infections, toxins and harmful chemicals decreases, moreover when it is super-aided by vitamin C depletion from low dietary intake, the body loses an important anti-oxidant that can fight reactive oxygen species.

Thus, reactive oxygen species are constantly produced by the body and slowly leads to opacity of lens and progressive thickening that does not allow light to pass through lens and thus visual problems arise.