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Study says alcohol raises cataract risk.

People who consume moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol are more than four times more likely to have a particular type of cataract than people who do not consume alcohol, according to an article published by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in a recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

The particular--posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) -- is a common cause of visual loss due to cataract, occurring in the back part of the lens, underneath the capsule, and supports the lens within the eye.

The Hopkins investigators also reported that light drinkers were not at an increased risk.

The report was based on interviews of surgical cases on Maryland's Eastern Shore, which had previously been the subject of a study showing a link between the sun's ultraviolet-B rays and PSC cataracts.

"In this population, consuming over seven alcoholic drinks per week was associated with an increased risk of PSC," said Beatriz Munoz, the lead author of the study.

Munoz noted that individuals who drank more than 91 grams of alcohol (seven drinks) per week were 4.6 times more likely to suffer from PSC when compared with non-drinkers.

The effect, according to the researchers, occurred with beer, wine and distilled spirits. The study did not determine whether each increase in the level of alcohol consumption was associated with a step-wise increase in risk of PSC. The authors were also unable to determine why alcohol would cause this malady.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Feb 22, 1993
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