Medicina (Kaunas) 2006; 42 (9): 738-743

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The relationship of the intensity of lens opacity with physical activity

Alvydas Paunksnis, Saulius Kušleika, Marija Kušleikaitė1

Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Institute for Biomedical Research, 1Institute of Cardiology, Kaunas University of Medicine, Lithuania

Key words: lens opacity; physical activity; metabolic equivalents.

Summary. Objective. To study the character and the intensity of lens opacity and the visual acuity in cataract patients and controls and to determine the association of these indices with the subjects’ physical activity.

Material and methods. The lens opacity in 110 eyes of patients (n=110) aged 60.3±0.4 (mean±SEM) years admitted to the Clinic of Eye Diseases of Kaunas University of Medicine Hospital for cataract surgery and the lens opacity of 100 eyes of controls (n=50) aged 59.8±0.4 (mean±SEM) (p>0.05) years hospitalized in the Clinic of Skin and Venereal Diseases was evaluated according to the Lens Opacity Classification System, version III. Visual acuity was investigated using the Snellen chart. Physical activity in metabolic equivalent minutes per week (MET-minutes/week) was evaluated according to the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Results. The means of the intensity of lens opacity of patients with cataract were significantly higher, and the means of visual acuity and physical activity were significantly lower, compared to controls (p<0.01–0.001). For less active patients (<5900 MET-minutes/week) with the right eye examined, the odds ratio of cataract was by 7.00 (95% confidence interval 2.93–16.74, p<0.001) and for those with the left eye studied by 4.43 (95% confidence interval 1.97–9.98, p<0.001) times higher, compared to physically active (>5900 MET-minutes/week) patients. Physical activity was inversely correlated (r=–0.452, p<0.05) with the lens opacity in the cortex in physically active (>5900 MET-minutes/week) subjects with cataract who underwent the examination of the left eye.

Conclusion. The intensity of lens opacity and cataract are statistically significantly related to physical activity.

Correspondence to S. Kušleika, Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas University of Medicine, Eivenių 4, 50009, Kaunas, Lithuania. E-mail:

Received 11 April 2006, accepted 17 August 2006