Association of serum alpha-tocopherol, retinol and ascorbic acid with the risk of cataract development
Objective: Several studies on cataract have suggested that antioxidant micronutrients such as alpha-tocopherol, retinol and ascorbic acid may help to protect against cataractogenesis. Our objective was to determine the serum concentration of these antioxidant vitamins in subjects with cataract to see if there is any correlation between the levels of essential vitamins and the development of cataract. Methods: The study was performed on a total of 88 patients and healthy controls who were given physical examinations that included a complete eye examination. Ascorbic acid was measured in serum with UV/Vis spectrophotometry, and fat-soluble vitamins were measured in serum by high-performance liquid chromatography according to previously published methods. Results: The mean serum concentration of alpha-tocopherol in patients (9.16 +/- 2.53.mu g/ml) with cataract was lower than in the control group (p < 0.001). Patients had a moderately lower ascorbic acid concentration than the control group, which was not statistically significant. The subjects' serum retinol levels were similar to control group levels and not statistically significant. Conclusion: While this is a small-scale case study it can nonetheless be viewed as presenting support to help narrow the possibility that antioxidative agents may play a role in delaying cataract formation. Copyright (C) 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.