Iris color and cataract: the Blue Mountains Eye Study

Am J Ophthalmol. 2000 Aug;130(2):237-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(00)00479-7.


Purpose: To investigate the relationship between eye color and cataract.

Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study (N = 3654) was conducted near Sydney, Australia. Lens photographs were graded for cortical, nuclear, and posterior subcapsular cataract. Iris color was assessed at slit-lamp examination by comparison with four photographic standards.

Results: Eyes with dark brown irises were more likely to have nuclear (adjusted odds ratio, 1.59; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 2.28) or posterior subcapsular cataract (adjusted odds ratio, 2.50; 95% CI, 1.57 to 3.98) than eyes with lighter-colored irises.

Conclusions: People with dark brown eyes are at increased risk of cataract and should be encouraged to protect their eyes from direct exposure to sunlight.

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / classification
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Color*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iris
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lens Cortex, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lens Nucleus, Crystalline / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Photography
  • Risk Factors