Hormone Therapy May Up Risk of Needing Cataract Removal

Risk may be particularly high in women on HRT who have more than one alcoholic drink a day

THURSDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are more likely to undergo cataract removal than their counterparts who never used HRT, and the relative risk is higher among women on HRT who also drink more than one alcoholic drink a day, according to a study in the March issue of Ophthalmology.

Birgitta Ejdervik Lindblad, M.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues analyzed data on 30,861 postmenopausal women aged 49 to 83 years who were followed for 98 months from 1997 to 2005, during which time there were 4,324 cataract extractions in the cohort.

Women who had ever used HRT had a 14-percent higher risk of cataract extraction compared to those who had never used HRT, and current users were at an 18-percent higher risk, the data revealed. The longer women used HRT, the higher the risk of cataract extraction, with current use for more than 10 years carrying a 20-percent higher risk, the researchers found. Women who currently used HRT and who drank more than one unit of alcohol a day had a 42-percent higher risk of cataract extraction than their counterparts who neither drank nor used HRT.

"If other studies confirm this association, an increased rate of cataract extraction should be added to the list of potential negative outcomes associated with HRT," the authors write.

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