October 2010




Smoking, socioeconomic status associated with age-related cataracts



A team of researchers from Singapore and Australia have found an association between smoking, a low socioeconomic status, and age-related cataract in Malay adults in Singapore. In a population-based study, 3,280 Malay individuals between the ages of 40 to 80 participated in extensive ocular exams, including visual acuity testing, slit lamp biomicroscopy, stereoscopic fundus examination, and ocular imaging. A structured, interview-administered questionnaire was used to collect socioeconomic, demographic, and medical information including age, sex, education level, occupation, and income. Smoking history was also gathered. Of the nearly 3,000 participants with gradable lens photographs, 1,338 had cataract. The researchers found that after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, hypertension, and diabetes, current smokers had a higher prevalence of cataract. "Primary or lower education and low monthly income were both associated with nuclear cataract, while small-sized public housing was associated with posterior subscapular cataract," the study states. Furthermore, the researchers found that one out of six nuclear cataract cases in men were attributable to smoking. "While many studies have reported an association of cigarette smoking with both the prevalence of cataract and/or its progression, these studies have been mainly conducted in white populations in the United States, Europe, and Australia," write researchers in the study. "Although smoking is unquestionably a major contributor to ill health and death, during the past few decades the incidence of smoking has increased exponentially in many Asian countries." The study was published in the August issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Reported by EyeWorld News service

Smoking, socioeconomic status associated with age-related cataracts Smoking, socioeconomic status associated with age-related cataracts
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