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Arch Ophthalmol. 2010 Jun;128(6):738-49. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.84.

Healthy diets and the subsequent prevalence of nuclear cataract in women.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53726-2336, USA.



To assess the association between healthy diet scores and prevalence of nuclear cataract in women.


The association between healthy diet scores, which reflect adherence to the US dietary guidelines, and prevalence of nuclear cataract determined 4 to 7 years later was assessed in a sample of Women's Health Initiative Observational Study participants (aged 50-79 years) residing in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Scores on the 1995 Healthy Eating Index, which reflect adherence to 1990 guidelines, were assigned from responses to food frequency questionnaires at the Women's Health Initiative baseline (1994-1998). Presence of nuclear cataract was determined from slitlamp photographs and self-reports of cataract extractions were assessed from May 1, 2001, to January 31, 2004, in 1808 women participating in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study.


Having a high 1995 Healthy Eating Index score was the strongest modifiable predictor of low prevalence of nuclear cataract among numerous risk factors investigated in this sample. The multivariate-adjusted odds ratio for high vs low quintile for diet score was 0.63 (95% confidence interval, 0.43-0.91). Higher prevalence of nuclear cataract was also associated with other modifiable factors (smoking and marked obesity) and nonmodifiable factors (having brown eyes, myopia, and high pulse pressure). Vitamin supplement use was not related to cataract.


These data add to the body of evidence suggesting that eating foods rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals may contribute to postponing the occurrence of the most common type of cataract in the United States.

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