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From the Archives
August 16, 2010

Extending the Sun Safety Recommendations: Emphasizing Eye Protection for Patients Taking Sun-Sensitizing Medications

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2010 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2010

Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(8):835. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.163

Archives of Ophthalmology

Selected Sun-Sensitizing Medications and Incident Cataract

Barbara E. K. Klein, MD, MPH; Kristine E. Lee, MS; Lorraine G. Danforth, BS; Tracie M. Schaich, BS; Karen J. Cruickshanks, PhD; Ronald Klein, MD, MPH

Objective:  To examine the relationship between the use of sun-sensitizing medications and cumulative incidence of age-related cataract.

Methods:  Sun exposure was estimated from residential history of adults in the midwestern community of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, which permitted calculation of Wisconsin sun-years at the baseline examination and 3 follow-up visits, each 5 years apart. Medication history was reported at each examination. Cataract presence was determined by standardized lens photographs that were taken at each examination and graded according to standard protocols.

Results:  No significant effects of Wisconsin sun-year exposure or use of sun-sensitizing medications on the cumulative incidence of any type of age-related cataract were noted when controlling for age and sex. However, an interaction term combining Wisconsin sun-years and use of any sun-sensitizing medication was significant (P = .04) such that risk of cortical cataract is significantly higher for both groups, namely, those taking sun-sensitizing medication and those having higher sun exposure. Further controlling for the presence of diabetes mellitus, history of heavy drinking, and hat or sunglasses use did not alter the relationships.

Conclusions:  Data suggest that the use of sun-sensitizing medications interacts with sun exposure to influence the risk of cortical cataract, a common age-related cataract. If confirmed, this finding may have important implications for medication use.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128(8):959-963.