Mortality and ocular diseases: the Beijing Eye Study

Ophthalmology. 2009 Apr;116(4):732-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2008.11.003. Epub 2009 Feb 4.


Objective: To examine the relationship between mortality and major ocular diseases.

Design: Population-based study.

Participants: At baseline in 2001, the Beijing Eye Study examined 4439 subjects with an age of 40 years or more. The mean age was 56.2+/-10.6 years (range, 40-101 years). In 2006, all study participants were invited for a follow-up examination.

Methods: The participants underwent a detailed ophthalmic examination and answered questions regarding their socioeconomic background. Rate of mortality was determined in the follow-up survey of 2006.

Main outcome measures: Factors associated with mortality.

Results: Of the 4439 subjects examined in the 2001, 3251 (73.2%) subjects returned for the follow-up examination, whereas 143 (3.2%) subjects had died and 1045 (23.5%) subjects were alive but did not agree to be reexamined. In binary logistic regression analysis, mortality was significantly associated with the systemic parameters of higher age (P<0.001; odds ratio [OR], 1.07), male gender (P = 0.01; OR, 0.55), lower level of education (P<0.001; OR, 0.65), smoking status (P = 0.023; OR, 1.25), and with the ocular parameters of level of diabetic-like retinopathy (P = 0.036; OR, 1.02), presence of angle-closure glaucoma (P = 0.013; OR, 3.74), and presence of nonglaucomatous optic nerve damage (P = 0.027; OR, 3.41). Presence of retinal vein occlusions was associated marginally with mortality (P = 0.059; OR, 2.59). Mortality was not significantly associated with best-corrected visual acuity (P = 0.14) in multivariate analysis, nor with age-related macular degeneration, open-angle glaucoma, trachoma, any type of cataract, visual field defects, intraocular pressure, or refractive error.

Conclusions: If socioeconomic parameters, age, gender, and smoking status were taken into account, ocular parameters associated with an increased mortality were diabetic-like retinopathy, angle-closure glaucoma, and nonglaucomatous optic nerve damage. Retinal vein occlusions were marginally associated. Other major ocular disorders such as any form of cataract, open-angle glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, trachoma, pterygia, and high myopia or high hyperopia were not significantly related to mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Rate
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data