Purpose: To assess whether an association exists between cardiovascular disease, vascular risk factors and incident cataract and cataract surgery.
Methods: The Blue Mountains Eye Study examined 3654 participants > or = 49 years of age during 1992-4, then 2335 survivors (75.1%) after five years. Trained interviewers administered a vascular history questionnaire; height, weight and blood pressure were measured. Lens photographs from both examinations were graded for presence of cortical, nuclear or posterior subcapsular cataract.
Results: Obesity (body mass index > or = 30 kg/m2) was significantly associated with increased incidence of both cortical [odds ratio (OR) 1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-2.2] and posterior subcapsular cataract (OR 2.1, CI 1.2-3.7). Hypertensive participants using medication and aged less than 65 years at baseline had a higher incidence of posterior subcapsular cataract (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.3-8.4) than normotensive subjects. A history of angina was associated with higher cataract surgery incidence (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.3-3-5).
Conclusions: These longitudinal data provide some evidence supporting a relationship between cardiovascular disease, vascular risk factors and incident cataract and cataract surgery. The findings confirm a number of associations previously documented in cross-sectional data.