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The rust on the magic bullet
  1. J Katz
  1. Correspondence to: Joanne Katz Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205-2103, USA; jkatz{at}jhsph.edu

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Antioxidants for cataract prevention bite the dust

Cataract is still the leading cause of blindness and low vision in most of the developing world.1 With the ageing of the population, even large increases in surgery rates will not keep pace with the increasing incidence of cataract. Minor decreases in incidence and progression of cataract could have a large impact on the burden of blindness and low vision. In India, it is estimated that there are 100 million eyes blind (visual acuity <6/60) as a result of cataract.2 This issue of the BJO (p 847) reports the results of a randomised clinical trial of antioxidant supplementation to prevent the onset and/or progression of cataract in south India.3 The unfortunate news is that antioxidant supplementation had no impact on cataract progression in this population. Although such “negative” trials are often seen as disappointments, and sometimes the authors have difficulty getting the results published, it is important to know whether to bother to spend money …

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