June is Cataract Awareness Month and new information may prove beneficial to male patients at your practice. In a long-term study published in Ophthalmology earlier this year, researchers shared that the use of a daily multivitamin supplement may lower cataract risk in men.
Although limited testing has been done to determine the benefits of supplement use on eye health in general, specific research on effects to eye disease is either limited or non-existent. Researchers in this case decided to use a double-blind study of 14,641 American male physicians age 50 and above over a 14-year span from 1997 to 2011. The study focused on the effects of a nutritional supplement on two of the most common eye diseases that cause vision impairment — cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
In this randomized study, half of the group took a placebo as a control while the other half took a multivitamin and supplements which included vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene. Using self-reporting substantiated by medical records, 945 cases of cataract developed in the placebo group while only 872 of the physicians that took the multivitamin and supplements developed the condition. It was also found that the risk of developing nuclear cataract, which is commonly related to age, was further reduced by 13 percent.
While a 9 percent reduction in the risk of cataract may seem insignificant at first glance, when you consider the more than 10 million Americans with vision impairment from cataract development, the number actually leads to a significant overall improvement to eye health. Lead researcher and study author William Christen, ScD, of HarvardMedicalSchool says, “If multivitamins really do reduce the risk of cataract, even by a modest 10 percent, this rather small reduction would nonetheless have a large public health impact”.
Along with advising patients of the potential benefits of multivitamin supplements to their eye health, the addition of Optos’ ultra-widefield retinal imaging can help you detect symptoms of cataract and other diseases that may be harmful to the eyes before noticeable symptoms are present. Contact us today for a consultation to learn how our technology can help your practice.