Asteroid hyalosis in an older population: the Blue Mountains Eye Study

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2003 Dec;10(5):331-5. doi: 10.1076/opep.10.5.331.17324.


Purpose: To assess the prevalence of and associations with asteroid hyalosis in an older population.

Methods: The Blue Mountains Eye Study was a cross-sectional study of an older community (aged 49-97 years). Subjects included were those attending the baseline (n = 3654) and 5-year examinations (n = 2335) of this cohort. Asteroid hyalosis was diagnosed clinically by the presence of cream-white spherical bodies within the vitreous or from grading of stereo retinal photographs of both eyes. Logistic regression assessed age-sex adjusted associations with relevant characteristics, including diabetes and cardiovascular variables.

Results: Asteroid hyalosis was found in 36 subjects (1.0%), 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7% to 1.3%, and was bilateral in three affected subjects (8.3%). An age-related increase in prevalence was observed, increasing from 0% of persons aged less than 55 years to 2.1% of persons aged 75 years or older. The prevalence of this sign was significantly higher in men (1.4%) than in women (0.6%), the age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) was 2.54 (CI 1.25-5.16). No statistically significant associations were found between asteroid hyalosis and a history of heart disease, gout, current smoking, the highest level of alcohol consumption or with presence of diabetes (diagnosed from history or fasting blood glucose tests).

Conclusions: Asteroid hyalosis was detected in 1% of participants in this Australian older population. No significant associations were found, apart from age and male gender. Our study provides similar age-specific prevalence data to a recent report from the Beaver Dam Eye Study for asteroid hyalosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Vitreous Body / pathology*