Online Program

Association of Lead with Cataracts and Vision-Related Problems in Perimenopausal Women

Monday, November 2, 2015

Imogene Drakes, MS, MBA, PhD, FACHE, Walden University, Spring Valley, NY
Around the world, women are subject to an earlier incidence of cataracts, have a higher risk for cataracts, and also have a higher risk for other vision-related problems than men. Previous research has indicated an association between endogenous lead stored in long bones and cataracts in men over 60 years of age; however, a similar study in women did not reveal an association. This case control study was conducted to investigate whether perimenopausal mobilization of endogenous lead serves as a possible causative factor for women’s generalized vision issues and cataract incidence in particular. Secondary data were gathered from 1,416 women aged 40 to 55 years of age from the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Variables of interest included vision-related issues, cataract surgeries, bone density data, blood lead levels, and markers of lead mobilization. The results of the logistic regression analysis in the absence of confounders (OR = 1.50, 95% CI [1.08, 2.09]) indicated that endogenous lead is a possible causative factor for the low-level vision problems women experience during their perimenopausal years. Chi-square analysis of mobilized lead was also associated with cataract surgeries, p < .05. This appears to be the first report of a possible association between lead and cataracts in women and highlights the need for women to be studied in the context of their biology when their clinical results differ from those of men. These results should engender positive social change initiatives to minimize women’s perimenopausal exposure to endogenous lead.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health biology

Learning Objectives:
Describe possible processes that could account for earlier cataracts and other vision-related problems in women than in men. Explain the recent analysis performed to identify a possible causative factor. Outline possible next steps to resolve the enigma.

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This abstract is the abstract from my dissertation that was successfully defended in December 2014 at Walden University. I have worked in clinical laboratory science for the past 30 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.