Moderate alcoholic beverage intake and early nuclear and cortical lens opacities

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2004 Feb;11(1):53-65. doi: 10.1076/opep.


Purpose: To study the relationship between alcoholic beverage intake and early lens opacities.

Methods: 556 Boston-area women aged 53-74 years were sampled from the Nurses' Health Study cohort. Degree of opacity was assessed by eye examinations including lens photography.

Results: After multivariate adjustment, the odds of a nuclear opacity grade > or =2.3 increased by 30% (OR=1.3, 95% CI: 1.10-1.54) per 10-g increase in total alcohol intake. Furthermore, after control for intake of other alcoholic beverages, the odds of a higher nuclear opacity grade increased by 13% (OR=1.13, 95% CI: 1.02-1.26) for every two additional hard-alcoholic drinks consumed per week, and by 17% (OR=1.17, 95% CI: 1.03-1.33) for every two additional glasses of wine consumed per week. The odds of a cortical opacity grade > or =0.4 decreased by 12% (OR=0.88, 95% CI: 0.79-0.98) for every two additional glasses of wine consumed per week, but intake of other alcoholic beverages was unrelated to cortical opacity.

Conclusions: Consumption of alcoholic beverages, particularly hard liquor and wine, was positively related to nuclear opacity. Wine drinking was inversely related to cortical opacity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lens Cortex, Crystalline / pathology*
  • Lens Nucleus, Crystalline / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors