Older adults with cataracts are more likely to be at risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures, a study suggests. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealed that the diagnosis of cataracts was associated with a 29% increased risk of developing osteoporosis or fracture.
In analyses for each individual event, the diagnosis of cataracts was associated with a 43% increased risk of osteoporosis, a 16% increased risk of hip fracture, a 25% increased risk of vertebral fracture, and a 24% increased risk of other fractures. Patients who underwent cataract surgery also had a 42% lower risk of developing osteoporosis or fracture.
“Appropriate management of cataracts may decrease osteoporosis and fracture risks,” said lead author Huei-Kai Huang, from the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Taiwan. “I strongly recommend all elders with osteoporosis or fractures to check their vision,” added co-author Ching-Hui Loh from the hospital.
A cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye, while osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle. Calcium deficiency is considered an important factor in the development of both osteoporosis and cataract. For the study, the team studied 57,972 cataract patients who were matched to 57,972 healthy controls.
During an average follow-up time of 6.4 years, 17,450 patients developed osteoporosis or fractures in the cataract group, and 12,627 in the non-cataract group.