Metabolic syndrome —increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels—increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.1 And so, it seems, of cataract development, according to a new report.2

In a large prospective study performed in Sweden, 45,049 men aged 45-79 years were followed routinely for 15 years, and the cohort was matched with registers of cataract extraction. 

Over the 15 years of follow-up, 7573 incident cases of cataract extraction were identified. After controlling for potential confounders, the association between abdominal body fat and cataract (defined by incidence rate ratio between the two events) was 1.04. For diabetes and cataract, the rate ratio was 1.77 and for hypertension it was 1.06.

The risk of cataract extraction increased with increasing numbers of metabolic syndrome components. Men aged 65 years or younger at baseline with all three components had a relative risk of 2.43 for cataract extraction, the study noted.

“These findings put emphasis on the importance of weight control and healthy lifestyle behaviors in order to prevent cataract,” the authors wrote.

1.Metabolic syndrome. Mayo Clinic.

2. Lindblad BE, Niclas Håkansson N, Wolk A. Metabolic syndrome and some of its components in relation to risk of cataract extraction. A prospective cohort study of men. Acta Ophthalmologica. Epub ahead of print, October 23, 2018.