(HealthDay News) — Long-term supplementation with selenium or vitamin E is not associated with a reduction in the risk of age-related cataract among men, according to a study published in the January issue of JAMA Ophthalmology.

William G. Christen, ScD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the effect of long-term supplementation with selenium and vitamin E on the incidence of cataract. Data were collected from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) involving men aged ≥50 years for African-American participants and ≥55 years for all other men. A total of 11,267 SELECT participants participated in the SELECT Eye Endpoints ancillary study.

The researchers identified 389 cases of cataract during a mean of 5.6 years of treatment and follow-up. There was no significant difference in the number of cataracts in the selenium vs. the no selenium group (185 vs. 204; hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.75–1.11; P=0.37). No difference was seen in the vitamin E treated group vs. the placebo group (197 vs. 192 cases; hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.84–1.25; P=0.81). Results were similar for cataract extraction.

“These data from a large cohort of apparently healthy men indicate that long-term daily supplementation with selenium and/or vitamin E is unlikely to have a large beneficial effect on age-related cataract,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Pfizer related to vitamins. Study agents, packaging, and multivitamins were provided by nutritional companies.

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