Three districts in the Punjab plains were surveyed in 1976-7 for senile cataract and potential risk factors. The prevalence of senile cataract was 15.3% among 1269 persons examined who were aged 30 ang older, and 4.3% for all ages. These figures confirmed previous reports of high prevalence. The prevalence was 1% for ages 30-49 and increased markedly in the sixth and seventh decades to 67% for ages 70 and older. Univariate age-adjusted analyses of selected socioeconomic, demographic, dietary, and other variables suggested that a higher prevalence was associated with being widowed, low education, use of rock salt in cooking, infrequent consumption of various protein foods (beans and lentils, milk, eggs, and curd), short height, and low weight. Multivariate analysis further suggested low total protein consumption as a risk factor that may account for as much as 40% of the excess prevalence of Punjab cataract over that in a US population study.
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