Right Combination of Vitamins May Help Prevent Glaucoma

CHICAGO, Ill. – While it’s no surprise that a vitamin-rich diet is beneficial to your overall health, the relationship between diet and glaucoma is unclear. Previous studies offer contradictory results; some indicate diet can help prevent glaucoma, but others found no effect on incidence rates. The SUN (University of Navarra follow-up study) a Spanish study, followed participants for an average of 12 years, and suggests that people who consume high amounts of a specific combination of vitamins may be able to cut their glaucoma risk in half. The researchers say their study underscores the need for ophthalmologists to add prevention to their glaucoma armamentarium. The study will be presented this week at AAO 2022, the 126th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, the tissue that connects the eye to the brain. It causes progressive vision loss over time and is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide. About 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It’s estimated that nearly 80 million people suffer from glaucoma across the globe, a number that is expected to reach 111 million by 2040.

To better understand the possible effect of diet on the incidence of glaucoma, the researchers evaluated data from nearly 20,000 people. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their healthy habits and diet every other year. They found that people who consumed high amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, either as supplements or through food, were 47 percent less likely to develop glaucoma.

Surprisingly, the vitamins provided protection only when all three were taken together. Lead researcher Alejandro Fernandez-Montero, MD, PhD, suspects the vitamins might have a synergistic effect when consumed together.

“With my colleague Dr. Moreno-Montañés, we have performed several studies in the past regarding how leading healthy lifestyles, eating a Mediterranean diet, smoking or exercising relates to glaucoma, and I hope these new findings on vitamins inspire more thought on prevention,” Dr. Fernandez-Montero said. “I believe that it is important for ophthalmologists to focus on prevention work just as much as they do on advancing treatments.”

Dr. Fernandez-Montero notes that further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

 

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.