The link of ACE inhibitor (ACEI) use to cataract development has been a point of debate, but a new study reports this antihypertensive drug is not associated with an altered risk of cataract.

Since some studies found ACEIs were associated with an increased risk of cataract, yet others noted their beneficial effects on cataract development, investigators in this large, case-controlled study assessed the risk of cataract in relation to exposure to ACEIs and other antihypertensive drugs.

Researchers analyzed data from the UK-based Clinical Practice Research Datalink from 1995 to 2015 and included first-time cataract patients aged 40 and older and an equal number of patients without cataracts in the control group. Investigators considered age, gender, general practice, date of first cataract and medical history. Researchers noted the number of ACEI prescriptions, other antihypertensive drugs and the use of single ACEI substances. They performed conditional logistic regression and sensitivity analyses and calculated the risk of cataract associated with previous exposure to ACEIs. Other factors included body mass index, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, prescriptions of systemic corticosteroids and other antihypertensive drugs.

The study identified 206,931 cataract cases and an equal number in the control group. The use of ACEIs was not associated with a materially altered risk of cataract compared with non-use of ACEIs, neither in the main analysis or in any of the sensitivity or stratified analyses, researchers noted.

In our large observational study, use of ACEI was not associated with an altered risk of cataract,” investigators said.

Becker C, Jick SS, Meier, CR. ACE inhibitor use and risk of cataract: a case-control analysis. Br J Ophthalmol. February 7, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].