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Systemic medications and cortical cataract: the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study


Background/aims To evaluate the association between systemic medications and cortical cataract prevalence in an Asian population.

Methods The Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study recruited 10 033 Chinese, Malay and Indian residents aged 40+ years living in Singapore. Information on medication use was collected at interview using questionnaires. The presence and severity of cortical cataract were assessed from lens photographs using the modified Wisconsin Cataract Grading System. Associations between medications and the presence of cortical cataract were assessed using logistic regression. Associations between medications and greater severity of cortical cataract (none, minimal, early and late) were assessed using ordinal logistic regression.

Results A total of 8965 participants were included, the mean age was 57.6 (SD=9.8) years, and 4555 (50.8%) were women. After adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status, socioeconomic status, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, duration of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, ACE inhibitors (OR=1.27; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.55), fibrates (OR=1.57; 95% CI 1.05 to 2.35), alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs) (OR=1.85; 95% CI 1.13 to 3.02) and insulin (OR=1.80; 95% CI 1.11 to 2.93) were significantly associated with the presence of cortical cataract. Further adjusting for concurrent medication use did not alter these associations. Consistently, the four medications were also associated with a greater severity level of cortical cataract.

Conclusion ACE inhibitors, fibrates and AGIs were associated with increased prevalence of cortical cataract in this Asian population, independent of the presence of hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes, respectively. Whether they contribute to the risk of cortical cataract needs confirmation in longitudinal studies.

  • epidemiology
  • lens and zonules

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