Journal: Ophthalmology, Volume 113, Issue 12, Dec 2006
OBJECTIVE To determine whether there is an association between age-related cataract and frailty that persists after controlling for visual acuity (VA) and comorbid conditions.
PARTICIPANTS Two thousand three hundred seventy Beaver Dam Eye Study cohort members at 10-year (third) examination with cataract information. Ninety-nine percent of the population was Caucasian.
METHODS Medical history, blood pressures, height, weight, measures of frailty, and lens photographs were obtained during the study evaluation. Lens photographs were graded according to standardized protocols.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Four of frailty (gait time, peak expiratory flow rate, handgrip strength, chair stand) and an index combining all 4 measures.
RESULTS After controlling for age, age squared, comorbidity index, pack-years, sedentary lifestyle, education, and VA, nuclear cataract in women was not associated significantly with any frailty measures; in men, nuclear cataract was associated with slower gait time (P = 0.01) and a poorer frailty index score (P = 0.01) in multivariable analyses. Cortical cataract was associated in women with a lower peak expiratory flow rate (P<0.01) and in men with weaker handgrip strength (P = 0.02) and a poorer frailty index score (P</=0.01) in multivariable analyses. Posterior subcapsular cataract in women was associated significantly with a lower peak expiratory flow rate (P = 0.01). Nuclear and cortical cataract add significant information in explaining frailty index scores in men.
CONCLUSIONS Three common types of age-related cataract are associated with some measures of frailty independent of VA and systemic comorbidities. It is possible that age-related cataract may be an indicator of general functional decline in older adults.