Could a Meat-less Diet Prevent Cataracts?
This question continues to attract attention, after a study published in 2011 by the University of Oxford seemed to link the risk of cataracts with a high meat diet. At Associated Retina Consultants in Phoenix, Arizona, we are occasionally asked this question by a patient who has heard of the study.
The study was conducted using surveys filled out by 27,670 self-reported non-diabetic people aged 40 or over. Medical records were monitored to see if and when cataracts developed. Strong correlations showed up between cataract risk and diet lifestyle patterns.
Those who ate more than 3.5 ounces of meat were at highest risk of suffering from cataracts. The risk decreased from one group to the next, in this order: moderate meat eaters, low meat eaters, fish eaters (people who eat fish but no other meat), vegetarians and vegans. Vegans, in fact, had a roughly 40 percent lower chance of developing cataracts than those who were reported to be high quantity meat eaters.
It has been known for some time that certain vegetables and vitamins help prevent cataracts. This study leads credence to the issue of dietary lifestyle habits and cataract development.