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Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;53(11):1156-63. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir675. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Risk of cataract surgery in HIV-infected individuals: a Danish Nationwide Population-based cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Odense University Hospital, Denmark.



Premature aging has been suggested a risk factor for early death in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Therefore, the risk of age-related diseases, such as cataracts, should be increased in this population. In a nationwide, population-based cohort study we assessed the risk of cataract surgery in HIV-infected individuals compared with the general population.


We identified 5315 HIV-infected individuals from a Danish national cohort of HIV-infected individuals and a population-based age- and sex-matched comparison cohort of 53,150 individuals. Data on cataract surgery were obtained from the Danish National Hospital registry. Cumulative incidence curves were constructed. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and impact of immunodeficiency, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and treatment with abacavir, tenofovir, protease inhibitors, and nonnucleoside analogue reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) were estimated by Poisson regression analyses and adjusted for age, sex, and calendar year.


HIV-infected individuals had a higher risk of cataract surgery than the comparison cohort (adjusted IRR, 1.87; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.50-2.33). The highest risk was found in patients with a CD4 cell count ≤ 200 cells/μL (adjusted IRR before HAART initiation, 3.11 [95% CI, 1.26-7.63]; adjusted IRR after HAART initiation, 4.74 [95% CI, 2.60-8.62]). In patients not receiving HAART and those receiving HAART with a CD4 cell count >200 cells/mL the adjusted IRRs were 0.60 (95% CI: 0.22-1.61) and 1.87 (95% CI: 1.46-2.39). Treatment with abacavir, tenofovir, protease inhibitors, or NNRTIs did not increase the risk substantially.


HIV-infected individuals have an increased risk of cataract surgery. The risk is mainly associated with immunodeficiency and HAART, but accelerated aging cannot be excluded as part of the possible explanation.

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