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Original Contribution
August 1, 2012

Risk of Fractures Following Cataract Surgery in Medicare Beneficiaries

JAMA. 2012;308(5):493-501. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9014

Context Visual impairment is a known risk factor for fractures. Little is known about the association of cataract surgery with fracture risk.

Objective To determine the association of cataract surgery with subsequent fracture risk in US Medicare beneficiaries with a diagnosis of cataract.

Design, Setting, and Participants Retrospective study of 1-year fracture incidence in a 5% random sample of Medicare Part B beneficiaries with cataract who received and did not receive cataract surgery from 2002 through 2009.

Main Outcome Measures One-year incidence of hip fractures. Analyses were adjusted for age; sex; race/ethnicity; US region of residence; systemic comorbidities, including Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score; ocular comorbidities; cataract severity; and presence of physically limiting conditions. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of hip fractures were calculated using logistic regression modeling.

Results There were 1 113 640 US Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older with a diagnosis of cataract between 2002 and 2009 in the 5% random sample; of these patients, 410 809 (36.9%) received cataract surgery during the study period. There were 13 976 patients (1.3%) who sustained a hip fracture during the study period. The most common fracture-related comorbidity was osteoporosis (n = 134 335; 12.1%). The most common ocular comorbidity was glaucoma (n = 212 382; 19.1%). Compared with 1-year hip fracture incidence in patients with cataract who did not have cataract surgery, adjusted OR of hip fracture within 1 year after cataract surgery was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.81-0.87) with an absolute risk difference of 0.20%. Compared with matched subgroups of patients who did not receive cataract surgery, patient subgroups that experienced lower odds of hip fracture after cataract surgery included patients with severe cataract, patients most likely to receive cataract surgery based on propensity score, patients 75 years and older, and patients with a CCI score of 3 or greater.

Conclusion In a cohort of US Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older with a diagnosis of cataract, patients who had cataract surgery had lower odds of hip fracture within 1 year after surgery compared with patients who had not undergone cataract surgery.