Nine-year Incidence of Lens Opacities in the Barbados Eye Studies

Ophthalmology. 2004 Mar;111(3):483-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2003.06.016.


Objective: To provide 9-year cumulative incidence of age-related lens opacities in a predominantly black population.

Design: Population-based cohort study, after 9 years of follow-up (n = 2793; 81% participation).

Main outcome measures: Nine-year cumulative incidence and progression of lens opacities, by type, based on the Lens Opacities Classification System II at the slit lamp.

Results: Black participants had a higher 9-year incidence of overall lens changes than white participants (age- and gender-adjusted relative risk [RR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-2.8), as well as of cortical opacities (RR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.7-6.2). In black participants, incidence rates of any cortical and any nuclear opacities were 33.8% and 42.0%, respectively, and higher than for any posterior subcapsular (PSC) opacities (6.3%). The incidence increased with age for all 3 types, and women had a higher risk of cortical and nuclear opacities (P<0.05). Single cortical opacities were the most frequent type to develop by the 9-year follow-up (23.2%), followed by nuclear-only opacities (17.1%) and mixed opacities (15.3%). Progression rates of pre-existing opacities were 22.0% for cortical, 17.8% for nuclear, and 25.8% for PSC opacities.

Conclusions: The 9-year follow-up of this cohort indicated a high incidence and progression of cortical and nuclear opacities, highlighting the public health importance of cataract in black populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Barbados / epidemiology
  • Cataract / ethnology*
  • Cataract / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lens, Crystalline / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution