Cardiovascular disease, selected cardiovascular disease risk factors, and age-related cataracts: the Beaver Dam Eye Study

Am J Ophthalmol. 1997 Mar;123(3):338-46. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)70129-1.


Purpose: To examine the associations of cardiovascular disease and selected cardiovascular disease risk factors with the prevalence of age-related cataract.

Methods: We conducted a population-based prevalence study of adults aged 43 to 86 years (n = 4,926) in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. An ocular examination including lens photographs, medical history, height and weight measurement, blood testing, and photograph grading was performed according to standard protocols.

Results: Age and sex influenced most of the relationships between risk variables and cataract. Many relationships apparent in univariate analyses were not significant when controlling for confounders. In multivariate models, higher glycated hemoglobin was significantly and consistently associated with increased risk of nuclear cataract in women. For cortical cataract, higher serum high density lipoprotein cholesterol was associated with decreased risk in women. For posterior subcapsular cataract, men with higher ratios of total to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were at increased risk. History of cardiovascular disease was not associated with cataracts in persons with or without diabetes after controlling for additional risk indicators.

Conclusions: Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease were associated with increased frequency of age-related lens opacities. Age and sex influenced these relationships but did not entirely explain them. Longitudinal follow-up is necessary to determine antecedent-consequent relationships that may suggest causal associations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Body Constitution
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cataract / blood
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipoproteins