Effect of photooxidation on the eye lens and role of nutrients in delaying cataract

  • Allen Taylor
Part of the EXS book series (EXS, volume 62)


The function of the eye lens is to collect and focus light on the retina. To do so, it must remain clear during the decades of life. Upon aging, lens constituents are damaged and precipitate in opacities called senile cataracts. Laboratory and epidemiologic data indicate that the damage is due in part to light and active forms of oxygen. Antioxidant nutrients — ascorbate, carotenoids, and tocopherol — appear to offer protection against cataract.

Fifty million persons worldwide are blind due to cataract, and, in the U.S., there are 1.2 million cataract surgeries performed at an annual cost (including physician visits) of over $3.2 billion. It has been estimated that a 10-year delay in the development of cataract would eliminate the need for half the surgeries. Since it will not be possible to replace most of the damaged lenses, it is essential to determine the efficacy of supplying adequate levels of antioxidant nutrients early in life to preserve lens function.


Cataract Extraction Cataract Formation Lens Epithelial Cell Lens Protein Antioxidant Nutrient 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision ResearchUSDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts UniversityBostonUSA

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