Purpose: To investigate the long-term incidence of age-related cataract and cataract surgery in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) cohort.
Methods: Baseline and annual lens photographs of participants, aged 55-80 years, were graded centrally for nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular (PSC) lens opacities using the AREDS System for Classifying Cataracts. Progression from a baseline status of no or mild lens opacity to at least moderate severity was analyzed and cumulative incidence estimated rates were calculated for each lens opacity type and cataract surgery stratified by age, sex, race, age-related macular degeneration category, multivitamin (Centrum) use and history of diabetes.
Results: The ten-year cumulative incidence was 43.6% for any cataract, 23.1% for nuclear cataract, 22.0% for cortical cataract, 13.1% for PSC cataract, and 26.8% for cataract surgery. The 5- and 10-year incidence rates of all cataract types and cataract surgery were significantly higher with increasing age. Females had a higher incidence of any, nuclear and cortical cataract and cataract surgery (p = 0.02-0.05). Incidence of cortical cataract was higher in non-white participants (p = 0.001).
Conclusions: These results are largely consistent with the results of previous observational studies. Long-term incidence rates of type-specific cataract can be useful in designing clinical studies of age-related cataract.