Purpose: To examine the association of reproductive factors and major eye diseases, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and cataract, in Asian women.
Methods: The Singapore Malay Eye Study is a population-based cross-sectional epidemiological study which examined 3280 persons (78.7% response) of Malay ethnicity aged 40-80 years; 1704 were female. Information on reproductive factors and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Glaucoma was defined according to the International Society for Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology criteria. Retinal photographs were graded for AMD following the Wisconsin grading system, and diabetic retinopathy according to the modified Airlie House classification system. Cataract was graded according to the Lens Opacity Classification System III.
Results: A total of 1176 women reported having experienced menopause by the time of the study with 1073 (91%) having a natural menopause, 88 (7.5%) a hysterectomy and 9 (0.8%) due to other reasons; HRT was used by 70 (6%) women. Women whose age at menopause was ≤52 years were 3.5 times more likely to have glaucoma (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.23-9.98, p value = 0.02) than those whose age at menopause was ≥53 years. Age of menopause was not associated with AMD (age-adjusted odds ratio, OR, 1.22, 95% CI 0.65-2.31), diabetic retinopathy (age-adjusted OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.66-1.54) or cataract (age-adjusted OR 1.38, 95% CI 0.95-2.00). Use of HRT was not associated with any of these eye diseases.
Conclusion: Women who had menopause at a younger age were more likely to have glaucoma. This association needs to be confirmed in other studies.