No Cataract Protection with Vitamin E, Selenium for Men

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No Cataract Protection with Vitamin E, Selenium for Men
No Cataract Protection with Vitamin E, Selenium for Men

(HealthDay News) — Daily supplements of selenium or vitamin E don't seem to protect against the development of age-related cataracts among men, according to a study published online September 18 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

William Christen, ScD, from Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined data from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of selenium and vitamin E. More than 11,000 men were asked to report if they had been diagnosed with cataracts or undergone cataract removal surgery since the study began. All of the black men in the study were aged ≥50 years. All of the other men were aged ≥55 years. The average treatment and follow-up period was about six years. There were almost 400 cases of cataracts during that time.

Among the men taking selenium, there were 185 cases of cataracts, compared to 204 in the group that didn't take the supplement. Meanwhile, 197 cases of cataracts were diagnosed among the men taking vitamin E, compared to 192 in the group that didn't take it. The men taking the supplements and those who didn't also had similar rates of cataract removal.

"These randomized trial data from a large cohort of apparently healthy men indicate that long-term daily supplemental use of vitamin E has no material impact on cataract incidence," the authors write. "The data also exclude any large beneficial effect on cataract for long-term supplemental use of selenium, with or without vitamin E, although a smaller but potentially important beneficial effect could not be ruled out."

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