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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jan;46(1):58-65.

Smoking and its association with cataract: results of the Andhra Pradesh eye disease study from India.

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L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India.



To investigate the associations between tobacco smoking and various forms of cataracts among the people of a state in India.


A population-based cross-sectional epidemiologic study was conducted in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP). A total of 10,293 subjects of all ages from one urban and three rural areas, representative of the population of AP, were interviewed, and each underwent a detailed dilated ocular evaluation by trained professionals. Data were analyzed for 7416 (72%) of the subjects aged >15 years.


Increasing age was significantly associated with all cataract types and history of prior cataract surgery and/or total cataract. In multivariate analyses, after adjusting for all demographic factors and for history of smoking, females, illiterate persons, and those belonging to the extreme lower socioeconomic status group were found to have a significantly higher prevalence of any cataract, adjusted odds ratio (OR)=1.60 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.24-1.96), 1.46 (95% CI: 1.17-1.70), and 1.92 (95% CI: 1.14-3.24), respectively. After adjustment, cigarette and cigar smokers had a significantly higher prevalence of any cataract, adjusted OR=1.51 (95% CI: 1.10-2.06) and 1.44 (95% CI: 1.12-1.84), respectively, compared with those who had never smoked ("never-smokers"). A significantly higher prevalence of nuclear, cortical cataract, and history of prior cataract surgery and/ or total cataract was found among cigarette smokers. A dose-response relationship was seen with respect to cigarette and cigar smoking. After adjustment, compared with never-smokers, cigarette smokers who smoked heavily (>14 "pack-years" of smoking) had a significantly higher prevalence of nuclear cataract (OR=1.65; 95% CI: 1.10-2.59), cortical cataract (OR=2.11; 95% CI: 1.38-3.24), and history of prior cataract surgery and/or total cataract (OR=2.10; 95% CI: 1.05-4.22). Nuclear cataract was significantly higher in cigar smokers (adjusted OR=1.55; 95% CI: 1.16-2.01) and in cigar smokers who smoked heavily (>21 person-years of smoking; OR=1.50; 95% CI: 1.10-1.95), compared with never-smokers.


Consistent with other studies, tobacco smoking was strongly associated with a higher prevalence of nuclear and cortical cataracts and history of prior cataract surgery in this population. These findings suggest yet another need to educate the community on the importance of cessation of tobacco smoking and perhaps incorporating an antismoking message into school health programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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