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Study finds no correlation between cataract progression and unclean cooking fuels


The main outcome measures were the baseline cataract severity and self-reported cataract surgery at a 15-year visit.

A prospective cohort study found no correlation between cataract progression and the use of unclean cooking fuels in South India,1 reported John M. Nesemann, MD, University of California, San Francisco, and associates.

The researchers performed a secondary observational analysis of the community-based Antioxidants in Prevention of Cataracts trial (NCT01664819) in which they evaluated the type of cooking fuel that was measured at baseline.

The main outcome measures were the baseline cataract severity and self-reported cataract surgery at a 15-year visit, Nesemann described.

The results showed that of the 798 participants at baseline, 15-year data were available for 579 patients.

The vast majority of all patients, 89.1%, reported that they used wood or kerosene to cook, which included 539 of the 579 (93.1%) participants who completed the 15-year follow-up, the investigators reported.

The type of cooking fuel used was not associated with the cataract severity at baseline (p = 0.443).

During the 8,334 person-years of follow-up, 90 cataract surgeries were performed over 15 years, i.e., 1.08 surgeries/100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87-1.32).

The incidence of cataract surgery at 15 years was not associated with the use of wood or kerosene compared to use of propane (adjusted p = 0.154).

Cataract surgery was performed more often in older individuals (hazard ratio [HR], 1.1/year; 95% CI, 1.1-1.2; p < 0.001), in patients who were myopic at baseline (HR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2-3.5; p = 0.009), and in women (HR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.2-10.1; p = 0.019).

“This study found no association between unclean cooking fuels and cataract progression over a 15-year period. No other modifiable risk factors were associated with incident self-reported cataract surgery,” the authors concluded.

Nesemann JM, Srinivasan M, Ravindran RD, et al. Relationship between cooking fuel and lens opacities in South India: a 15-year prospective cohort study. Am J Ophthalmol. 2022;243:66-76; DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2022.06.021
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