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Healthy Diet Linked to Lower Risk of Nuclear Cataract

Also, sun-sensitizing meds combined with sun exposure may increase cortical cataract risk

TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- The development of cataracts can be influenced by factors other than age, including diet and the use of sun-sensitizing medications combined with sun exposure, according to one study published in the June issue and another published online June 14 in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Julie A. Mares, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues studied 1,808 women participating in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study, for whom dietary information for 1994 to 1998 was available. The researchers assessed the development of cataracts in the women by 2001 to 2004 and found that having a high 1995 Healthy Eating Index score was the strongest modifiable predictor for low prevalence of nuclear cataract (odds ratio, 0.63 for the highest versus lowest quintile score).

In another University of Wisconsin study, Barbara E.K. Klein, M.D., and colleagues analyzed data on adult residents of Beaver Dam, Wis., obtained during baseline examinations in 1988 to 1990 and at five-, 10-, and 15-year follow-up, including medication history. The researchers used Wisconsin sun-years to calculate UV-B exposure and looked for associations between cataract development and the use of sun-sensitizing medications. Among 2,998 subjects followed for 15 years, sun-sensitizing medications were found to interact with sun exposure to increase the incidence of cortical cataract.

"If our findings are confirmed, it would be important to examine whether the effect is greater in those with higher levels of ambient sunlight (UV-B) exposure and if dose or duration of medication use is also important. Because cortical cataract is a common lens opacity in adults, present in about 16 percent of the Beaver Dam Eye Study population at the baseline examination, our study findings may be relevant to public health," Klein and colleagues conclude.

One author of the first study disclosed financial ties to Eyetech and Alcon.

Abstract - Mares
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Abstract - Klein
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