Risk Factors for Cataracts Treated Surgically in Postmenopausal Women

Ophthalmology. 2016 Aug;123(8):1704-1710. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.04.037. Epub 2016 Jun 7.


Purpose: To identify risk factors for cataracts treated surgically in postmenopausal women.

Design: Population-based, prospective cohort study.

Participants: A total of 1 312 051 postmenopausal women in the UK Million Women Study, aged 56 years on average (standard deviation [SD], 4.8), without previous cataract surgery, hospital admission with cataracts, or cancer at baseline, were followed for cataracts treated surgically.

Methods: Cox regression was used to calculate adjusted relative risks (RRs) for cataract surgery by lifestyle factors, treatment for diabetes, reproductive history, and use of hormonal therapies.

Main outcome measures: Cataract surgery identified by linkage to central National Health Service (NHS) records for inpatient and day-patient admissions (Hospital Episode Statistics for England and Scottish Morbidity Records in Scotland).

Results: Overall, 89 343 women underwent cataract surgery during an average of 11 (SD, 3) years of follow-up. Women with diabetes were at greatest risk (diabetes vs. no diabetes RR, 2.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.82-2.97). Other factors associated with an increased risk of cataract surgery were current smoking (current smokers of ≥15 cigarettes/day vs. never smokers RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.23-1.30) and obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥30 vs. <25 kg/m(2); RR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.10-1.14).

Conclusions: Diabetes, smoking, and obesity were risk factors for cataract surgery. Alcohol use, physical activity, reproductive history, and use of hormonal therapies had little, if any, association with cataract surgery risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract Extraction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Postmenopause*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproductive History
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal