Purpose: To evaluate risk factors associated with posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) development and the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and etiology of PSC.
Methods: Of 195 consecutive patients from a private ophthalmology practice, diagnosed with PSC, serum vitamin D3 (25-OH D) levels were obtained for 175, and associations among risk factors, comorbidities, and PSC were assessed.
Results: In all 175 PSC patients, mean 25-OH D levels were low (24 ng/mL ±11 SD) compared with age/sex-matched standards. Significant differences in 25-OH D levels were noted between PSC subjects taking/not taking calcium supplements, systemic steroids, osteoporosis medications, etc. Alone, smoking status and calcium channel blockers and/or topical steroids use made no significant difference in PSC subjects 25-OH D levels, but two or more of these factors were associated with lowered levels of 25-OH D (P<0.001). Low vitamin D was correlated with female sex, autoimmune disease, and non-skin cancer diagnosis, but not with age, or other comorbidities or medication use. In five early-stage PSC patients taking 5,000 IU of 25-OH D daily for vitamin D deficiency, there was resolution of their cataracts during the 2-year follow-up period.
Conclusion: Vitamin D levels for most PSC patients fell below the 30 ng/mL calcium homeostasis threshold. Some comorbidities and non-ophthalmic interventions are associated with the development of PSC at less depressed levels of 25-OH D. In this series, vitamin D deficiency was associated with PSC cataract, suggesting that raising the level of vitamin D intake may reduce PSC incidence.
Keywords: case report; cataracts; hypocalcemia; posterior subcapsular; risk factors; vitamin D deficiency.