Purpose: To describe the methodology and baseline data for the Antioxidants in Prevention of Cataracts (APC) study in South India.
Methods: The APC study is a prospective, 5-year, randomized, triple-masked, placebo-controlled, field-based clinical trial to examine the effect of antioxidants (combination tablet of vitamins A, C, and E) on progression of cataract. The primary outcome variable is cataract progression (nuclear opalescence), evaluated with the slit-lamp biomicroscope by the Lens Opacification Classification System III method. Secondary outcome variables are progression in cortical and posterior subcapsular opacity and nuclear color, change in best corrected visual acuity, myopic shift, and treatment failure (progression to cataract surgery or best corrected vision worse than 20/400 in an eye). Inclusion criteria are age between 35 and 50 years and best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better. Exclusion criteria are a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus or nonfasting blood glucose level>7.8 mmol/L, history or presence of various ocular conditions or treatment forms, or current use of vitamin supplements. Baseline ophthalmic, demographic, and potential cataract risk factor data (such as smoking, sunlight, or alcohol exposure) were compared between groups on an intent-to-treat basis.
Results: Of 954 people screened, 798 were enrolled, a sample size which exceeded the required estimate. More than 80% of subjects had 20/20 or better vision in at least one eye, and baseline prevalence of significant cataract according to the LOCS III grading scale was high. The two treatment groups were comparable for all baseline measures except alcohol intake.
Conclusion: The sample size and group baseline characteristics will provide sufficient power to detect a change in cataract progression within 5 years.