Purpose: To evaluate the effect of the multivitamin Centrum on the development and progression of age-related lens opacities.
Design: Clinic-based prospective cohort study.
Participants: Four thousand five hundred ninety individuals with at least one natural lens and photographic follow-up (median, 6.3 years) were assessed for development or progression of lens opacities.
Main outcome measures: Progression of "any" lens opacity or type-specific opacity was ascertained from lens photographs taken at baseline and at annual visits beginning at year 2.
Methods: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed no statistically significant effect of a high-dose antioxidant formulation on progression of lens opacities. Centrum also was provided to approximately two thirds of the study participants. Because Centrum use was elective, a logistic regression model of baseline characteristics was used to generate a propensity score for Centrum use. Repeated-measures logistic regression, adjusted for propensity score and other covariates, was used to evaluate associations of Centrum use and lens opacity.
Results: Centrum use, adjusted for propensity score and other covariates, was associated with a reduction in "any" lens opacity progression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.72-0.98, P = 0.025). Results for individual lens opacity types suggested that Centrum use was protective for nuclear opacity events (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.61-0.91, P = 0.004).
Conclusion: Observational data from the AREDS and other studies suggest that use of a multivitamin may delay the progression of lens opacities. A National Eye Institute-sponsored clinical trial scheduled for completion in 2007 will provide additional data on Centrum use and cataract development.