A prospective study of alcohol consumption and cataract extraction among U.S. women

Lisa Chasan-Taber, Walter C. Willett, Johanna M. Seddon, Meir J. Stampfer, Bernard Rosner, Graham A. Colditz, Frank E. Speizer, Susan E. Hankinson

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15 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Alcohol consumption has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cataract in some, but not all analytic studies. To date, no prospective analysis of the relationship between alcohol consumption and cataract has been conducted in women. METHODS: We examined the association between alcohol consumption and cataract extraction in a prospective cohort of female registered nurses. In 1980, 50,461 women were included and others were added as they became 45 years of age for a total of 77,466 women. Information on alcohol consumption and incidence of senile cataract extraction was ascertained during 12 years of follow-up with biennial questionnaires. RESULTS: We observed 1468 cases of cataract extraction in 761,036 person- years of follow-up. Compared to nondrinkers, those consuming alcohol were not at increased risk of cataract, even up to 25 grams or more per day (2 or more drinks) relative risk [RR] = 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.90, 1.35. Results remained unchanged after controlling for cataract risk factors including cigarette smoking, body mass index, and diabetes. When risk was examined for specific cataract subtypes only, those in the highest category of consumption had a multivariate relative risk of 1.10 95% CI = 0.74, 1.62 for nuclear cataracts and 1.50 95% CI = 0.98, 2.30 for posterior subcapsular cataracts only. CONCLUSIONS: These prospective data suggest that there is no substantial overall increased risk of senile cataract due to alcohol intake. The possibility that alcohol consumption leads to a modest increased risk of posterior subcapsular type opacities requiring extraction merits further exploration. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Alcohol
  • Cataract
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Prospective Studies


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