Common medications may increase the risk for cataracts. Investigators at the University of Wisconsin studied records from more than 2000 patients over a span of 15 years. People who took drugs that can sensitize the skin or eyes to sun damage were a little more likely to come down with cortical cataracts. Some of the drugs included the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is frequently found in medications to treat hypertension. The popular over-the-counter pain reliever naproxen was also implicated. Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, the diabetes drug glyburide and a drug called amitriptyline, which is prescribed for nerve pain and depression, were other contributors. The lead investigator downplayed the significance of the data because she did not want to scare people.
A different study from the University of Wisconsin found that women who did not smoke, maintained a healthy weight and ate lots of vegetables and fruits had an almost 40 percent lower risk of developing cataracts. If you must take medicine that increases the risk of sunburn or cataracts, it makes sense to stay out of the midday sun, and wear a hat and UV blocking sunglasses. Eating leafy greens and other vegetables is good for your heart, your brain and probably your eyes.
[Archives of Ophthalmology, June and August 2010]