The authors evaluated the association between plasma vitamin E content and progression of eye lens opacities. A total of 410 hypercholesterolemic eastern Finnish men participated in the study from January 1990 to September 1993 in Kuopio, Finland. Lens opacities were classified three times at 18-month intervals using the Lens Opacities Classification System II. A low plasma vitamin E level (lowest quartile) was associated with a 3.7-fold excess risk (95% confidence interval 1.2-11.8) of the progression of early cortical lens opacities compared with the highest quartile (p = 0.028). In addition, the number of cigarettes smoked daily was a significant predictor of the progression of cortical lens opacity (relative risk = 1.06 per cigarette, 95% confidence interval 1.003-1.12). The progression of nuclear lens opacities was not associated with either the plasma vitamin E content or smoking. The data suggest that low plasma vitamin E content may be associated with increased risk of the progression of early cortical lens opacity.
New equipment for measuring intraocular pressure have been introduced lately. One of these is the Keeler Pulsair non-contact tonometer which uses pressurized air in measurement. It is found to be safe and easy to use in practice, but it seems to give 1.5-2.0 mmHg lower reading than the Goldmann applanation tonometer. This was confirmed by the present study, where non-contact tonometry was controlled by applanation tonometry with a 2-3 week delay between the measurements. However, for screening procedures the accuracy of the apparatus can be considered as sufficient.
Mass health screenings for the elderly have been undertaken in Kuopio since 1983. Three different age groups, 65, 70 and 75 years old are called for examination so that each group is examined at 5-year intervals. In 1989 an ophthalmologic examination was included in the protocol for those born in 1914 and 1924. A total number of 1133 persons were recruited, 833 (73.5%) of which actually participated in the study. Cataract was found to be the most frequent visual handicapper. Of participants with visual acuity less than 0.3 at least in one eye, cataract was observed in 41.7% of the younger and in 91.1% of the older group. Age-dependent macular degeneration and glaucoma were less frequent than cataract. Visual acuity of less than 0.3 in the better eye was observed in 5.5% of the older group.
Pseudoexfoliation (PEX) of the lens capsule is a well-known risk factor for open-angle glaucoma. Its prevalence is known to increase by age in the same way as prevalence of age-dependent cataract. In the present paper the prevalence of PEX varied from 8.5 to 13.2% increasing by age. Lens opacities were statistically significantly more common in PEX-positive than PEX-negative eyes. The importance of detecting exfoliation from the lens surface is discussed.