Socioeconomic and lifestyle factors and the 10-year incidence of age-related cataracts

Am J Ophthalmol. 2003 Sep;136(3):506-12. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(03)00290-3.


Purpose: To investigate the association of socioeconomic and lifestyle factors with incidence of age-related cataracts.

Design: Population-based longitudinal epidemiologic study.

Methods: Persons aged 43 to 86 years (n = 4,926) living in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, were examined in 1988 to 1990, 1993 to 1995, and 1998 to 2000. Medical histories were obtained, and photographs of the lenses were taken at each visit. Photographs were graded according to standard protocols.

Results: Socioeconomic and lifestyle factors considered were income, education, occupation, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and multivitamin use. After adjustment for age and sex, income (or education) was inversely and smoking was directly related to the 10-year cumulative incidence of nuclear cataract. None of the factors were significantly associated with incident cortical or posterior subcapsular cataract. We found no evidence in these analyses to suggest that history of multivitamin use altered the relationships of smoking to the incidence of cataracts. In models adjusting for all other significant risk factors, the individual significance values for each individual factor differed little from the models adjusting only for age and sex.

Conclusions: Incident nuclear cataract was associated with income and smoking 10 years earlier. There were no significant lifestyle exposures associated with incident cortical and posterior subcapsular cataract.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Cataract / diagnosis
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Income
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology