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Higher Risk of Cataracts After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The risk of cataracts increases after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), suggesting the need for eye protection in patients undergoing these procedures, researchers from Taiwan report.

Although previous studies have identified a link between occupational radiation exposure and excess risk of cataract formation, the research in patients has been more limited. Lead eyeglasses are currently recommended for interventionists, but there are no guidelines for patient eye protection.

Dr. Yu-Tung Huang, from Kaohsiung Medical University,Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and colleagues used data from Taiwan's National Health Insurance research database to evaluate the risk of cataract surgery in 13,807 patients exposed to PCI and 27,614 patients not exposed to PCI.

Patients who underwent PCI were 25% more likely than those not exposed to PCI to have cataract surgery, according to the April 4 JAMA Internal Medicine online report.

The risk of cataract surgery increased with increasing numbers of PCI procedures, from 23% increased risk with one procedure to 29% increased risk with two to four procedures to 43% increased risk with five or more procedures.

"Because this was an observational study," they note, "we cannot establish causation, and there may be unmeasured confounders."

Nevertheless, the researchers conclude, "providing lead eyeglasses to protect patients' eyes, as is already done during cosmetic laser procedures, during the PCI procedures is recommended."

Dr. Huang did not respond to a request for comments.The authors reported no funding or disclosures.

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