Smoking and cataract: review of causal association

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2005 Dec;31(12):2395-404. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2005.06.039.


Several risk factors for the development of cataract have been identified. This review evaluates epidemiologic literature that has examined tobacco smoking as a risk factor for cataract formation using established causality criteria. Twenty-seven studies were included in this review. Evidence suggests that smoking has a 3-fold increase on the risk for incident nuclear cataract development. There was also evidence of dose response, temporal relationship, and reversibility of effect. There was limited evidence of an association between smoking and posterior subcapsular cataract, but little or no association with cortical cataract. Thus, the literature review indicated a strong association between smoking and the development of cataract, particularly nuclear cataract. The association fulfills the established criteria for causality. The association between smoking and other types of cataract is less distinct and requires further evaluation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Causality
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*