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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Sep;47(9):3783-6.

Lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract: the Melbourne visual impairment project.

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  • 1Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Australia.



To evaluate the association of cortical, nuclear, or posterior subcapsular (PSC) cataract with dietary intake of lutein-zeaxanthin (LZ) in a population-based sample.


For the study, 3271 (83% of the eligible residents) permanent residents aged > or =40 years were recruited in 1992 to 1994 via a cluster random sampling. In 1997 to 1999, 2594 (79%) attended the follow-up examination including lens photography, a life-style questionnaire, and a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Cases were those with cortical opacity > or =4/16, nuclear opacity grade > or =2.0, or PSC opacity > or =1 mm2. Logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratios for cataract by daily LZ intake, or its quintile indicator with the lowest quintile as the baseline category, controlling for energy-adjusted fat intake and variables previously found to be associated with the cataract outcomes.


Of the 2322 participants who attended the follow-up survey and completed the FFQ, 1841 (79%), 1955 (84%), and 1950 (84%) were included in the analyses of cortical, nuclear, and PSC cataract, respectively. There were 182 (9.9%), 387 (19.8%), and 177 (9.1%) cases for cortical, nuclear, and PSC cataract, respectively. Cortical and PSC cataract were not significantly associated with LZ intake. For nuclear cataract the odds ratios were 0.67 (0.46-0.96) and 0.60 (0.40-0.90) for every 1-mg increase in crude and energy-adjusted daily LZ intake, respectively. The odds ratios (95% CI) for those in the top quintile of crude LZ intake was 0.58 (0.37-0.92; P = 0.023 for trend), and it was 0.64 (0.40-1.03) for energy adjusted LZ intake (P = 0.018 for trend).


This study found an inverse association between high dietary LZ intake and prevalence of nuclear cataract.

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