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Overweight, Obesity, and Age-Related Cataract: A Meta-analysis

Pan, Chen-Wei*; Lin, Yi

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000243
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Purpose: To examine the longitudinal association of overweight/obesity with age-related cataract.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed using PubMed and Embase from their inception until June 2013 for prospective data on body mass index categories identical or similar to the World Health Organization–recommended classifications of body weight and age-related cataract including nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular (PSC) cataract. Meta-analyses were conducted using random-effects models with results reported as adjusted relative risks (RRs).

Results: A total of 163,013 subjects aged 40 to 84 years from six prospective cohort studies were included in the meta-analysis. Obesity was associated with an increasing risk of nuclear cataract (pooled RR, 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.25), cortical cataract (pooled RR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.66), and PSC cataract (pooled RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.31 to 1.77). Overweight was only associated with an increasing risk of PSC cataract (pooled RR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.40).

Conclusions: The longitudinal associations of obesity with incident age-related cataract are confirmed by the findings in this six-study meta-analysis. The association of obesity with PSC cataract is stronger than that with nuclear or cortical cataract. Randomized control trials are warranted to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of weight reduction in obese populations to decrease the risk of age-related cataract.

*MD, PhD


School of Public Health, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou, China (C-WP); Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore (C-WP); and Unit of Nutrition and Food Safety, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium (YL).

Chen-Wei Pan School of Public Health Medical College of Soochow University 199 Ren Ai Rd Suzhou 215123 China e-mail:

© 2014 American Academy of Optometry