PURPOSE To evaluate the relationships of lens thickness to age, to the presence of a nuclear, cortical, or posterior subcapsular cataract, and to other personal characteristics in participants in the Beaver Dam Eye Study.
METHODS Slit lamp photographs taken during a population-based prevalence study were measured for lens thickness. In addition, slit lamp photographs were graded for nuclear cataracts, and retroillumination photographs were graded for cortical and posterior subcapsular cataracts. A questionnaire was administered, and height, weight, and blood pressure were measured by protocol.
RESULTS Lens thickness increased systematically with age in men and women. In multivariate analysis, age, sex (male), cortical cataract, diabetes, nuclear cataract, and former cigarette smoking were related significantly to lens thickness.
CONCLUSIONS Age was the most significant personal characteristic associated with lens thickness among those subjects considered. In addition, other characteristics, including specific cataract types and risk factors for cataracts, also were associated with thickness. Whether lens thickness among people of the same age is associated prospectively with these characteristics requires a longitudinal follow-up.