Purpose: To evaluate the relationship of reproductive exposures and incident age-related cataract and maculopathy in women.
Methods: This was a population-based cohort study including all adults 43 to 84 years of age living in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (a representative midwestern community) who were identified during a census in 1987 to 1988. They were evaluated initially in 1988 to 1990 and at follow-up in 1993 to 1995. Evaluations included medical histories and both fundus and lens photography. All procedures were done according to protocols that were the same at both examinations. All photographs were graded by trained observers using defined grading schemes. The severities of age-related cataracts and maculopathy were determined by grading of photographs. Information on hormone exposures was ascertained from structured interviews.
Results: After adjusting for age, the only significant finding for lens end points was a trend indicating a possible protective effect of increasing number of live births and incident posterior subcapsular cataract. There were no significant associations of any reproductive exposure with lesions of early or late age-related maculopathy.
Conclusions: In these population-based data, there is little evidence of association of hormone exposures with incident age-related eye disease in women 5 years later. Longer follow-up of this population, whose mean age is approaching that of heightened incidence, may disclose significant relationships.