Controlling modifiable risk factors such as hyperglycemia, hypertension, and smoking may reduce the risk of developing cataracts, according to a population-based cross-sectional study published in Ophthalmology. Out of the total 5945 participants, 468 had cortical-only lens opacities, 217 had nuclear-only lens opacities, 27 had posterior subcapsular (PSC)-only opacities, and 364 had mixed-type lens opacities. Mean age for cortical lens opacities was 62.4, for nuclear lens opacities was 69.4, for PSC lens opacities was 59.1, and for mixed-lens opacities was 70.9.
Smoking was identified as a risk factor for nuclear lens opacities, but that being a former smoker was not significantly associated with this type of cataract. Diabetes and hypertension are risk factors for PSC opacities.
Cataract surgery is probably one of the most common surgical procedures that Medicare pays for. Thus, controlling hyperglycemia and diabetes, hypertension and uncontrolled blood pressure, and smoking will prevent lens opacities.