, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 118-124
Date: 30 Jan 2007

Prospective study showing that dietary vitamin C reduced the risk of age-related cataracts in a middle-aged Japanese population

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In Western countries, many epidemiological studies have demonstrated that specific dietary nutrients are associated with the risk of developing age-related cataracts. These reports have suggested that dietary antioxidant vitamins, in particular vitamin C, can play a role in preventing the onset or progression of age-related visual impairment. However, few prospective studies have examined this relationship in a general Asian population. Therefore, in this study, we investigated whether dietary vitamin C was associated with a lower incidence of age-related cataracts by performing a 5-year prospective population-based analysis using data from a cohort of over 30,000 Japanese residents recruited to the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study) cohort I.

Aim of the study

We carried out a prospective analysis of the association between vitamin C intake and age-related cataracts among middle-aged Japanese, to study the effects of dietary antioxidants in an Asian population.


This 5-year population-based study included 16,415 men and 18,771 women (aged 45–64 years), who were recruited onto the JPHC Study and had not reported cataracts in baseline surveys. Vitamin C was calculated from the nutrient intake assessed by self-administered food-frequency questionnaires (FFQ). Self-reported questionnaires were used to assess two endpoints: diagnosis or extraction of cataracts.


At follow-up, 216 men and 551 women reported new diagnoses, and 110 men and 187 women reported extractions of cataracts. For both endpoints, a higher vitamin C intake was associated with a reduced incidence of cataracts in both sexes. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, the multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for men and women in the highest quintiles of energy-adjusted vitamin C intake, relative to the lowest quintiles, were 0.65 (95% CI, 0.42–0.97) and 0.59 (95% CI, 0.43–0.89) for cataract diagnoses, and 0.70 (95% CI, 0.44–1.20) and 0.64 (95% CI, 0.41–0.94) for cataract extractions, respectively.


Dietary vitamin C intake might lower the risk of age-related cataracts among middle-aged Japanese.

Study Group Members: Members of the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study Group are: S. Tsugane, M. Inoue, T. Sobue, T. Hanaoka, National Cancer Center, Tokyo; J. Ogata, S. Baba, T. Mannami, A. Okayama, National Cardiovascular Center, Suita; K. Miyakawa, F. Saito, A. Koizumi, Y. Sano, I. Hashimoto, Iwate Prefectural Ninohe Public Health Center, Ninohe; Y. Miyajima, N. Suzuki, S. Nagasawa, Y. Furusugi, Akita Prefectural Yokote Public Health Center, Yokote; H. Sanada, Y. Hatayama, F. Kobayashi, H. Uchino, Y. Shirai, T. Kondo, R. Sasaki, Y. Watanabe, Y. Miyagawa, Nagano Prefectural Saku Public Health Center, Saku; Y. Kishimoto, E. Takara, T. Fukuyama, M. Kinjo, M. Irei, H. Sakiyama, Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Public Health Center, Okinawa; K. Imoto, H. Yazawa, T. Seo, A. Seiko, F. Ito, F. Shoji, Katsushika Public Health Center, Tokyo; A. Murata, K. Minato, K. Motegi, T. Fujieda, Ibaraki Prefectural Mito Public Health Center, Mito; K. Matsui, T. Abe, M. Katagiri, M. Suzuki, Niigata Prefectural Kashiwazki and Nagaoka Public Health Center, Kashiwazaki and Nagaoka; M. Doi, A. Terao, Y. Ishikawa, Kochi Prefectural Chuo-higashi Public Health Center, Tosayamada; H. Sueta, H. Doi, M. Urata, N. Okamoto, F. Ide, Nagasaki Prefectural Kamigoto Public Health Center, Arikawa; H. Sakiyama, N. Onga, H. Takaesu, Okinawa Prefectural Miyako Public Health Center, Hirara; F. Horii, I. Asano, H. Yamaguchi, K. Aoki, S. Maruyama, M. Ichii, Osaka Prefectural Suita Public Health Center, Suita; S. Matsushima, S. Natsukawa, Saku General Hospital, Usuda; M. Akabane, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo; M. Konishi, K. Okada, Ehime University, Matsuyama; H. Iso, Y. Honda, Tsukuba University, Tsukuba; H. Sugimura, Hamamatsu University, Hamamatsu; Y. Tsubono, Tohoku University, Sendai; M. Kabuto, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba; S. Tominaga, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, Nagoya; M. Iida, W. Ajiki, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease, Osaka; S. Sato, Osaka Medical Center for Health Science and Promotion, Osaka; N. Yasuda, Kochi Medical School, Nankoku; S. Kono, Kyushu University, Fukuoka; K. Suzuki, Research Institute for Brain and Blood Vessels Akita, Akita; Y. Takashima, Kyorin University, Mitaka; E. Maruyama, Kobe University, Kobe; the late M. Yamaguchi, Y. Matsumura, S. Sasaki, S. Watanabe, National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Tokyo; and T. Kadowaki, Tokyo University, Tokyo.