Serum lipids and age-related lens opacities: a longitudinal investigation: the Framingham Studies

Ophthalmology. 2003 Mar;110(3):578-83. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(02)01762-1.


Objective: To investigate whether serum lipid/lipoprotein levels are independent risk factors for nuclear, cortical, or posterior subcapsular (PSC) cataracts.

Design: Case-control study nested in a cohort study.

Participants and methods: Eye examinations were conducted on surviving members of the Framingham Offspring Heart Study cohort from 1989 to 1991 (Framingham Offspring Eye Study) to determine cataract case-control status. Data from the Framingham Offspring Heart Study, including fasting serum total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride measurements collected first in 1971, again approximately 8 years later, and approximately every 4 years thereafter were used to examine associations between lipid levels (mean levels across examinations and slope of measurements over time) and the presence of specific cataract types. The multistage analyses included 1869 persons aged 45 years and older.

Main outcome measures: A standardized grading system was used to grade cortical, nuclear, and PSC cataracts.

Results: The median age of participants was 55 years; 49% were males. In multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders, fasting hypertriglyceridemia (>/=250 mg/dl) was associated with an increased risk of PSC cataract in men (P = 0.02). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels </=35 mg/dl were associated with PSC cataract in men at a borderline level of significance (P = 0.09). No associations were noted between serum lipid/lipoprotein variables and risk of cortical or nuclear cataract.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that hypertriglyceridemia, a potentially modifiable factor, is associated with the development of PSC cataract in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cataract / blood
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / epidemiology*
  • Lens, Crystalline / pathology
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol