AUG 2014

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

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Page 25 of 82

EW CATARACT 23 Drinking in moderation may have ocular benefits but it's a little difficult to advocate alcohol consumption as a medical recommendation in view of other comorbidities." The lead author of the Beaver Dam Eye Study was unavailable and declined to comment for this article. However, according to the study, while study authors are careful to assert the data "does not prove that these lifestyle behaviors are directly responsible for increased risk," current smoking was statistically significantly associated with fewer letters read correctly in the whole cohort and in men, but not women. "People who did not drink in the past year had higher odds of incident visual impairment com- pared with occasional drinkers," the authors wrote. The data interpretation should probably be taken with the prover- bial grain of salt, Dr. Berstein said. not statistically significant, the researchers found. Risk factors linked to visual impairment "Cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma have all been linked with smok- ing as a risk factor," said Larry E. Patterson, MD, medical director of Eye Centers of Tennessee, Crossville. Increased physical activity has long been recognized as having a positive effect on decreasing risk for disease development, but "the alcohol link is unusual," he said. Agreed Larry P. Berstein, MD, Island Professional Center, Plain- view, N.Y., "we already knew a good, clean, healthy diet and physical activity are beneficial and smoking is deleterious. Alcohol consumption, similar to the beneficial cardiovascu- lar effects of moderate wine con- sumption, is better than no alcohol, Data from the Beaver Dam Eye Study suggests occasional drinking may result in reduced risk of developing visual impairment, including cataracts T he latest report on the Beaver Dam Eye Study cohort suggests that a physically active lifestyle and occasional drinking are associated with a reduced risk of developing visual impairment. 1 The study group members exam- ined the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and three modifiable lifestyle behaviors: smoking, drinking alcohol, and staying physically active. The research was conducted as part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long- term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43 to 84 years. During the course of the study, the researchers found visual im- pairment developed in 5.4% of the population and varied based on lifestyle behaviors. For instance, 6.7% of sedentary persons and 2% of physically active persons developed visual impairment. After adjustment for age, these figures show a 58% decrease in odds of developing vi- sual impairment in those who were physically active compared to those who were sedentary, the researchers reported. Occasional drinkers were defined as those who have con- sumed alcohol in the past year, but reported less than one serving in an average week. Over 20 years, 11% of non-drinkers (people who have not consumed alcohol within the past year) developed visual impairment while 4.8% of occasional drinkers did so. After adjustment for age, these figures show a 49% decrease in odds of developing visual impair- ment in those who were occasional drinkers compared to those who consumed no alcohol. While the odds were higher in heavy drinkers and smokers compared to people who never drank heavily and never smoked, respectively, the associations were August 2014 by Michelle Dalton EyeWorld Contributing Writer continued on page 24 Cataract editor's corner of the world T he old adage of "an apple a day" keeping the doctor away may need to be revised to "a drink a day." The recent Beaver Dam Eye Study reported that occasional drinking was significantly associated with a decreased risk of developing visual impairment. This may be welcome news to those patients who enjoy an occasional cocktail. However, it is important to note that an occasional drinker was defined as having less than one drink per week. Staying physically active was also shown to be linked to a reduced risk of developing visual impairment. So, according to this newest Beaver Dam Eye Study, we may all benefit from some exercise mixed with a monthly drink. Bonnie An Henderson, MD, cataract editor

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