A new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study has evaluated the potential impacts of cataracts and cataract surgery on the risks of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

For the study, researchers at Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Taiwan studied 57,972 cataract patients who were matched to 57,972 healthy controls. During an average follow-up time of 6.4 years, 17,450 patients developed osteoporosis or fractures in the cataract group, and 12,627 in the non-cataract group.

The diagnosis of cataracts was associated with a 29% increased risk of developing osteoporosis or fracture. In analyses for each individual event, the diagnosis of cataracts was associated with a 43% increased risk of osteoporosis, a 16% increased risk of hip fracture, a 25% increased risk of vertebral fracture, and a 24% increased risk of other fractures. In the cataract group, patients who underwent cataract surgery had a 42% lower risk of developing osteoporosis or fracture.

"Appropriate management of cataracts may decrease osteoporosis and fracture risks," said first author Dr Huei-Kai Huang. "I strongly recommend all elders with osteoporosis or fractures to check their vision," added co-author Dr Ching-Hui Loh.