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Bariatric Surgery Linked to Reduced Risk for Cataracts

Lowest risk for cataracts seen for patients aged 40 to 49 years; null result observed in patients aged 60 to 79 years

eye

MONDAY, May 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Bariatric surgery is associated with a reduced risk for cataract development, according to a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity, held virtually from May 10 to 13.

Theresa Burkard, Ph.D., from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences in Zurich, and colleagues examined the association between weight loss through bariatric surgery and risk for cataracts in a cohort study involving 22,560 bariatric surgery patients aged 40 to 79 years who were propensity score-matched to 35,523 unexposed patients.

During follow-up, 1,151 and 2,316 patients developed cataracts in the bariatric surgery group and unexposed group, respectively. The researchers found that compared with unexposed patients, bariatric surgery patients had a decreased risk for cataracts overall (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.66 to 0.76). The risk for cataracts in bariatric surgery patients versus unexposed patients increased with age, with the lowest risk seen for patients aged 40 to 49 years (hazard ratio, 0.52; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.44 to 0.75), while results were null for patients aged 60 to 79 years. The lowest risk for cataracts was seen for combined malabsorptive and restrictive surgery followed by malabsorptive surgery only compared with unexposed patients (hazard ratios, 0.49 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.20 to 1.20] and 0.68 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.63 to 0.73], respectively), with null results for restrictive bariatric surgery.

"Substantial weight loss is associated with a decreased risk of cataract, especially if obesity surgery was performed before age 60," the authors conclude. "This decreased risk is an addition to the multitude of positive effects that weight loss has on eye health."

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