March 03: A recent Study titled ‘Alcohol Consumption and Incident Cataract Surgery in Two Large UK Cohorts’ published in the UK journal Ophthalmology claims that people drinking low to moderate alcohol and in particular wine, reduce the risk of undergoing cataract surgery generally needed at older age, writes Subhash Arora who feels that though the Study was carried purely in the UK population, it ought to hold for other populations as well, including India
The study team led by Robert N Luben, University of Cambridge, wanted to examine the cause and effect of alcohol consumption and category within the alcoholic beverage, with incident cataract surgery in two large UK cohorts. Researchers instituted a longitudinal observational study consisting of 469,387 participants of UK Biobank with a mean age of 56 years and 23,162 participants of EPIC-Norfolk with a mean age of 59 years.
Using a questionnaire in UK Biobank and a food-frequency questionnaire in EPIC-Norfolk cases were defined as participants undergoing cataract surgery in either eye as obtained by linking data to the National Health Service procedure statistics. The authors excluded participants with cataract surgery up to 1 year after the baseline assessment visit or those with self-reported cataract at baseline. Set procedures were followed to examine the association of alcohol consumption with incident cataract surgery and were duly adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking and diabetes status etc.
Compared to non-drinkers, drinkers in the Study were found to be less likely to undergo cataract surgery after adjusting for co-variables as mentioned. Among alcohol consumers, greater alcohol consumption was associated with a reduced risk of undergoing cataract surgery in EPIC-Norfolk, while a U-shaped association was observed in the UK Biobank.
Compared with non-drinkers, sub-group analysis by type of alcohol beverage showed the strongest protective association with wine consumption. The risk of incident cataract surgery was 23% and 14% lower among those in the highest category of wine consumption in EPIC-Norfolk and UK Biobank, respectively.
The conclusion by the researchers was-Our findings suggest a lower risk of undergoing cataract surgery with low to moderate alcohol consumption. The association was particularly apparent with wine consumption.
Though the Study and results pertain to UK Cohorts, they could be reasonably extrapolated to people in other populations as well, in the UK or countries like India.
The Study has the traditional rider-"We cannot exclude the possibility of residual confounding and further studies are required to determine whether this association is causal in nature."
No information has been provided about who funded the Study.
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