Inhaled Corticosteroid Exposure and Risk of Cataract in Patients with Asthma and COPD: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


PURPOSE: Both systemic and inhaled corticosteroids may increase the risk of cataract in patients with both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Our aim was to assess the degree of association between cataract and corticosteroid exposure in patients with asthma and COPD.

METHODS: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines. The odds ratio estimates were extracted from each article. A random effects model was applied for estimate pooling in separate meta-analyses according to study design. Meta-regression was performed to assess the dose-response relationship between corticosteroid exposure and the risk of cataract development.

RESULTS: A total of 19 studies met the criteria for inclusion in this review, of which 12 studies provided effect estimates for pooled analyses. All but one of the included observational studies reported a significant association between use of corticosteroids and cataract development in cohorts of asthma and/or COPD patients. Pooled analyses revealed on average a doubled risk of cataract in corticosteroid-exposed asthma and COPD patients. Studies have shown that daily high-dose inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) ≥ 1000 μg is associated with a significant risk of developing cataract and by that predispose to subsequent cataract surgery, although one study showed that systemic corticosteroids increase cataract risk more than ICS.

CONCLUSION: ICS treatment in asthma and COPD patients is a risk factor for cataract development. Our results emphasize a previously underestimated potential long-term risk of treatment with ICS and underline the importance of targeting ICS treatment, and not least dosing, to improve the risk-benefit ratio of maintenance treatment in both asthma and COPD.

TidsskriftJournal of Ophthalmology
Sider (fra-til)8209978
StatusUdgivet - 2023


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