Isolated systolic hypertension and seven-year risk of age-related posterior subcapsular cataract extraction: a population-based, prospective study

C. T. Valmadrid, P. K. Whelton, S. K. West, G. W. Comstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPQSE. To examine prospectively whether blood pressure measures are independent risk factors for age-related posterior subcapsular cataract extraction. METHODS. Design: Population-based, prospective cohort study starting in 1989, with 7 years of follow-up. Participants.: 10,044 Washington County, Maryland residents, 45 years old, who donated blood and medical & dietary data to a serum bank, and without prior history of cancer. Outcome Measure: Incident age-related posterior subcapsular cataract extraction, defined as first senile cataract extraction with, confirmed by medical record review, a presurgical diagnosis of age-related posterior subcapsular opacity and no history of intraocular surgery and trauma. Main Exposure Variables: Baseline blood pressure and pulse pressure measurements; systolic &/or diastolic hypertension categories, including isolated systolic hypertension (systolic >160 & diastolic <90 mmHg); and treatment for hypertension. RESULTS. We identified 213 incident cases of age-related posterior subcapsular cataract extraction during 68,702 person-years of follow-up. In univariate analysis, all blood pressure-related variables, except diastolic blood pressure and diastolic hypertension, were associated with risk of posterior subcapsular cataract extraction [p=0.0001 j. After adjustment for age, isolated systolic hypertension at baseline remained significantly related to posterior subcapsular opacity [relative risk (95% confidence interval}=1.76 (1.08-2.87), p=0.0227]. In proportional hazards models, the association between isolated systolic hypertension and risk of age-related posterior subcapsular cataract extraction remained significant [relative risk=1.69 (1.04-2.75), p=0.0359], even after adjustment for age, gender, education, body mass index, and cigarette smoking. CONCLUSIONOur findings suggest that isolated systolic hypertension is an important independent risk factor for posterior subcapsular cataract extraction. Improved awareness, treatment, and control of isolated systolic hypertension may reduce the burden of age-related posterior subcapsular extraction in the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S450
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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