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Leafy Greens May Keep Vision Clear

Vegetables may help prevent cataracts, researchers say

FRIDAY, Dec. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Eating plenty of leafy dark green vegetables may help you see your way to preventing cataracts.

An Ohio State University study offers the first laboratory evidence that two antioxidants -- lutein and zeaxanthin -- in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens can help prevent cataracts. Previous research had suggested these two antioxidants benefit the eyes.

In this new study, researchers found that lutein and zeaxanthin helped protect human eye lens cells from exposure to ultraviolet light, a leading cause of cataracts.

Lutein and zeaxanthin were nearly 10 times more powerful than vitamin E in protecting the lens cells from UV damage, the study found.

The research appears in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

"Along with the many environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors associated with cataracts, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and oxidative stress appear to be the most relevant in this disease," study co-author Joshua Bomser, an assistant professor of nutrition, said in a prepared statement.

"Our results are the first to provide physical evidence suggesting that lutein and zeaxanthin decrease damage caused by ultraviolet radiation," Bomser said.

More information

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has more about cataracts.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Dec. 3, 2004
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