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UNLABELLED: Waterclefts and retrodots are independently associated with visual impairment, yet a review identified no data on risk factors. PURPOSE: To investigate risk factors for these two human lens cataract subtypes. METHOD: Two nested case-control studies: The host study comprised 1078 subjects (55 years) attending the Somerset and Avon Eye Study (SAES). In total, 197 watercleft cases (Oxford grade 0.2 in either eye) and 199 retrodot cases (Oxford grade 1.0 in either eye) were individually age/gender matched to controls. Detailed ophthalmic and potential risk factor data were collected, including body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol, diabetes, hypertension, analgesics, vitamin supplementation, nutrition, sunlight exposure, dehydration, hormonal (women), blood lipids, glucose, urea, creatinine, uric acid, and vitamin levels. RESULTS: For waterclefts, univariable analysis identified BMI, alcohol intake, vitamin status, sunlight, urea, creatinine, and uric acid as possible risk factors. Multivariable analysis identified two independent associations. Total number of 'any' analgesics in the previous year: adjusted P<0.01 (U-shaped risk profile, unadjusted high vs medium use (=reference) OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.35-4.26 with medium use vs none (=reference) OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.26-0.72); total sunlight: adjusted P=0.03 (unadjusted highest exposure vs lowest (=reference) OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.11-9.50). For retrodots, univariable analysis identified alcohol, HRT, and lipids. Multivariable analysis identified two independent associations. Mean number of alcohol units consumed per month, adjusted P=0.02 and HDL cholesterol levels, adjusted P=0.02 (unadjusted ORs NS both). CONCLUSION: This is the first available published information on risk factors for the human cataractous lens features waterclefts and retrodots.

Original publication




Journal article


Eye (lond)

Publication Date





1254 - 1267


Aged, Alcohol Drinking, Analgesics, Body Mass Index, Case-Control Studies, Cataract, Estrogen Replacement Therapy, Female, Humans, Lipids, Male, Middle Aged, Risk Factors, Severity of Illness Index, Sunlight