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Alcohol Consumption Linked to Lower Risk for Cataract Surgery

Findings seen in two large cohorts from United Kingdom; strongest protective association seen with wine consumption

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Alcohol consumption, especially wine, is associated with a reduced risk for undergoing cataract surgery, according to a study recently published in Ophthalmology.

Sharon Y. L. Chua, Ph.D., from the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal observational study to examine the association between alcohol consumption and incident cataract surgery in two cohorts. Data were included for 469,387 participants of the U.K. Biobank (mean age, 56 years) and 23,162 participants in the European Investigation of Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk (mean age, 59 years).

The researchers identified 19,011 and 4,573 incident cases of cataract surgery in the U.K. Biobank and EPIC-Norfolk cohorts, respectively (mean cohort follow-up of 95 and 193 months, respectively). After adjustment for covariates, drinkers were less likely to undergo cataract surgery than nondrinkers in the U.K. Biobank and EPIC-Norfolk cohorts (hazard ratios, 0.89 and 0.90, respectively). Greater alcohol consumption was associated with a reduced risk for undergoing cataract surgery among alcohol consumers in EPIC-Norfolk, while in the U.K. Biobank, the investigators observed a U-shaped association. The strongest protective association was seen with wine consumption, with a 23 and 14 percent lower risk for incident cataract surgery among those in the highest category of wine consumption in the EPIC-Norfolk and U.K. Biobank cohorts, respectively.

“Cataract development may be due to gradual damage from oxidative stress during aging,” Chua said in a statement. “The fact that our findings were particularly evident in wine drinkers may suggest a protective role of polyphenol antioxidants, which are especially abundant in red wine.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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